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, July 1, 2020

Tissue Shock

(Pro 1:26 KJV) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

When teaching middle school I would often have students approach me wanting me to use my magic powers to produce a tissue for them.  I would often reach into my back pocket, pull out my handkerchief, and offer to share.  They would recoil in horror.  Then I would blow my nose and put it back in my pocket.  They would look on in disbelief.

First a science lesson.  The handkerchief was loaded with my germs.  I doubt if I am going to get sick with my germs.  I was not worried for myself but I understand them not wanting to use it.

Second, a little history.  I used to have tissue.  I was even foolish enough one time to bring a box from home so my little darlings would not go without.  Then came the second day of school.  I watched as they would reach out, take a large handful of tissue, blow once and throw it all away.  Then they would reach for another handful.  I had paid for that tissue and they were acting like tissue welfare queens.  I stopped bringing my tissue for them to use.  So I began requesting it from the school.  The office would give me one box at a time and limit how often I could get one.  I took to handing them out, one tissue at a time.  When they ran out, they ran out.  I reminded the students that they had sleeves.

So?  God may have sympathy for our spiritual runny noses.  There comes a time when He will harden His heart because He can see ours.  God does not play games. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

In Common

(Pro 30:14 KJV)  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

What is the theme of our “generation” (kind NASB) (1755)?  What is the sense of America at this time?  There was a time when Americans thought of themselves as a nation full of different people united by the principles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Yes, we had our subgroups with their hang ups.  Hillbillies and Urban professors still had a certain something in common.  With all of the race baiting and divisive leadership we have had for the last ten years I wonder if that is still the case.

As Christians we need to grab hold of that old picture.  We cannot stand by and let the hate mongers divide us on race and economic situation.  Here it talks about going after the weak.  Those people always have a special place in God’s heart but remember that weak does not mean the current victim class.  It means those who do not have the power to defend themselves.

So?  The world needs to hear our message and see our example.  It needs it more than ever.  Live holy.  Love holy. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Trust Issues

(Pro 29:25 KJV) The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Notice that two emotions are juxtaposition.  We have “fear” (2731) contrasted with ““trust” (982).  Which one applies in our life depends on our choices.  First, it is the target of our feeling.  There are times when we must trust other people.  That is a part of life but we do so always wondering if they will let us down.  Or worse, they might deliberately be setting us up for a fall.  At all times we should be trusting the Lord.  There may be times we don’t understand where things are going but even in those times there is an assurance.

So?  A famous quotation is “Trust, but verify.”  When it comes to the Lord it is simply, “Trust.”

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Three Tiered

(Pro 28:5 KJV) Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

If you compare the two translations you find that the KJV uses “judgement” (4941) and the NASB uses “justice”.  When I look at the definition I find both plus the idea of ordinances.  The word has a progression that we tend to overlook.  We are required to make judgements in life as well as in law.  In life it can be as incidental as choosing between instant and old fashioned oat meal.  It could also involve whom you marry.  In law it can be the $20 jury guaranteed by the Constitution or a matter of life and death.  Judgements are seeking justice.  That is the place where popular culture breaks down.  Justice is grounded in the ordinances of God.

The world around us does not want to admit that God has established right and wrong.  To admit it means obedience or admitted rebellion.  We tend to live in a culture that wants to decide morality based on personal convenience rather than eternal truth. 

So?  The wicked rule based on personal preference.  The righteous walk the straight path of God.  That is true for us and it should come into consideration when we are required to make decisions about others. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Drippings

(Pro 27:15 KJV) A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

You may not have experienced this personally but I think we are all aware of the theme.  You find it in jokes, movies and TV shows.  If it isn’t your wife you can walk away or use call screening.  If it is your wife that brings up other issues.

The similarity is based on being irritating and the irritation is based on monotonous repetition.  Rain dripping from a roof or ceiling does not have a purpose.  It is just the laws of nature taking the simplest route.  I guess there is a similarity to nagging.

One difference is that a drip has no choice or say in the matter.  That is not so in the case of nagging.  The verse does not say who is to blame but my prejudice says it is the wife.  She does not have to nag.  She would probably see it differently.

So?  Don’t be a nag.  If you are the nagged, check to make sure that it isn’t deserved.  Don’t assume. 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Limits

(Pro 26:14 KJV)  As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

This is a verse that requires some reflection.  I hesitate to say meditation because focusing on a door closing comes close to the question of the sound of one hand clapping.  How am a like a door when I am being a sloth?

Doors generally only have one motion and they are dependent on others for their action.  Even modern automatic doors depend on someone approaching or punching a button.  You only think about a door when it presents a problem.  It can squeak.  It can not close smoothly.  It can get locked accidently.  What does that say about my laziness?

So?  Being lazy is not a good thing.  It is a common thing.  It is a matter of choice.  Maybe it is time to stop reflecting and get moving. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Live Sunshine

(Pro 25:14 KJV) Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

As a general rule I don’t watch the weather report and only listen with half an ear when it comes on the radio.  Each morning I take a quick look at the ap on my phone and make a note of the current temperature.  I also glance at what they tell me is coming up but I never make my plans based on that.  I don’t put a lot of weight in the weather report.  The only reason I look at the temperature is I am too lazy to stick my head out the door or open a window.

Why?  Because the weather report is really more about manipulating people than giving them information.  If you pay attention you would realize that they are only right in a general sort of way and most of what they could tell you the old lady down the street, tending her garden could tell you. 

Too many Christians are like that.  We talk sunshine and live cloudy.  People notice and often wonder what kind of game we are involved in.

So?  I don’t want to be a phony weather report for Jesus.  I can tone down the talk and deal up the living.  That will make an impact. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Sin Against Man

(Pro 24:9 KJV) The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

I note today that the “scorner" (scoffer NASB) (3917b) is an “abomination” (8441) to men.  We would assume that he is offensive and repulsive to God.  Evidently the label applies to people around him also.  We might miss the point that the laws God has established do not make us worthy of God’s grace but they might make the world a better place for our neighbors.  It is true that the word usually applies to God but there are cases like this where we offend others around us.

I would guess that if there is a spectrum of words for offense, abomination would be at the far end from something like “make uneasy”.  It involves disgust and a desire to get away from it.

So?  God is willing to deal with our sin with forgiveness and cleansing.  He has the advantage of seeing our heart and knowing the future.  Cut your neighbors some slack because they just see how you are acting today. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Good Gone Bad

(Pro 23:17 KJV) Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

“Envy” (7065) is another good example of something with good potential gone bad.  Just as legitimate sexual attraction can become lust leading to actually adultery, so good taste can end up being envy.  The problem is not in knowing that owning a home is something you would like someday.  The problem is in the feelings you have toward home owners when you are living in a studio apartment.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all we every really wanted was to be better servants like someone you know.  That is possible but only if our fear of the Lord outweighs our personal “I want.”

So?  Work on having the proper perspective. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Watch What You Watch

(Pro 22:25 KJV) Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

I have heard that if I am ever at a formal dinner and don’t know which fork to use then I should watch the person next to me for clues.  That is good advice when we are thinking but much of what we do in life is based on unthinking observation not careful calculation.  When I am in a crowd I will sometimes go with the flow.  If I am on a surface that leans left, I will lean right.  We often follow others.

So?  That means we need to be thoughtful about whom we chose for friends or just acquaintances.  You don’t want to end up in the wrong line. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Time to Give

(Pro 21:26 KJV) He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.

There are takers and there are givers.  The strange thing is that it does not have any correlation with how much you have.  I have heard that poor people are much more generous than the wealthy.  Either way it is an attitude.  Some people have a victim attitude and believe that they deserve more.  They don’t think they can be happy without whatever is on their mind.  They miss the whole problem.

It is always interesting when the charitable giving of celebrities is revealed.  It is shocking how often they give almost nothing.  If their selfishness is not repaid in this life then it will be in eternity. 

So?  At the present time we are struggling with an economy that has been red lined.  There are many people that we come in contact with that could use a helping hand.  It is time to be a giver. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Acquired Tastes

(Pro 20:1 KJV) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

I have tasted “wine” (3196).  I didn’t like it.  It tasted like rotten grapes mixed with rubbing alcohol.  I have been told that the problem was I drank cheap wine.  Good wine, whatever that is, tastes much better.  The only problem I have with that is most of the wine in the world is cheap wine.  Very few have the privilege of drinking only good wine.  Yet they still drink.  My point is, we can get used to anything.  Coffee smells heavenly but the taste takes some getting used to.  Why do we bother?

Some things in life we need to learn to like because we have no real choice.  Sometimes they catch on.  Who would have ever thought that smelly fish eggs would be the cracker cover of the rich?  Who in their right mind would put blue cheese into their mouth unless their nose was stopped up?  Maybe it was because they had too much wine.

So?  It is possible that the promises of righteousness are offensive because we are not used to them.  Maybe we are so used to pollution that we can’t stand the smell of clean air. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Fun Times

(Pro 19:29 KJV) Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.

My mind wandered to the thought that God spends His creativity on rewards for the righteous rather than innovative punishments for the unrepentant.  I notice that the punishment for these rebels is “prepared” (3559) ahead of time.  This is the word used for God establishing the heavens in Proverbs 3:19 and 8:27.  It has the idea of laying down a solid foundation.

Believers have an eternity of experiencing God’s infinite creativity.  Those who reject Him have a dreadful and repetitive payoff ahead.

So?  Is sin fun?  It is certain that the eternity of sinners won’t be.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

A Poor Benefit

(Pro 18:23 KJV) The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

“Intreaties” (supplications NASB) (8469) is used eighteen times in the OT, only here in Proverbs.  The NASB always uses “supplication” as does the KJV, except here.  As I read through the verses it seems that the one appealed to was always God.  It is something that has often been observed that poor people tend to understand their dependence on God better than the wealthy.

I have known a few people that I would consider on the edge of rich if not actually.  The ones I knew were wonderful human beings who seemed to deal with their wealth well.  A sad truth is that many people don’t.  I sometimes wonder if I was not born wealthy because I could not handle it.  When people don’t know what it is to have to economize they often begin to put their trust in the money they have invested and the material things they own.  That is the definition of materialism.  Americans are very much at risk of this because even our “poor” tend to live better than the people of most of the world.

So?  If you are one of the poor then be glad that you have a God who watches over you and hears your “supplications”.  If you have plenty don’t ever forget to be grateful. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Take the Time

(Pro 17:10 KJV) A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

It would seem that confronting the mind has better results than punishing the body.  It is not that people are not able to learn from physical punishment.  The point would be that it is limited.  When a child is reaching to pick up a scorpion you may not have time to reason.  It can be taught not to pick up a scorpion but the slapping of the hand may teach it nothing about picking up a centipede.  That requires the engagement of the mind and the mind must be willing.

Reaching the mind requires spending time in relationship.  It requires listening.  It requires looking for ways to communicate.  None of those may be available when the scorpion crawls out from the corner but after the initial confrontation there is time to work on it.

So?  It takes a bit of wisdom sometimes to know if you have time to explain or must demand.  Don’t rule either out.  Keep in mind that there are fools out there. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Walk with Care

(Pro 16:25 KJV) There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

If you compare the KJV with the NASB you will notice that the “seemeth” (6440) of the KJV is marked by italics in the NASB.  That means it is not in the Hebrew.  I am not enough of a scholar to track this one down for sure but I found an indication.  I have one translation called the Apostolic Bible Polyglot which is based on the Greek Septuagint.  In consulting different translations the king’s men must have decided to go this way.

The word referenced in the KJV means face or appearance, which would fit in with the meaning.  The basic point is made many times in Proverbs and other places in the Bible.  One of the earliest is,
(1Sa 16:7 KJV) But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
 So?  God encourages our attempts to understand but demands obedience even when we do not. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Thump, Thump

(Pro 15:19 KJV) The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

One characteristic of a “highway” (5549) is speed.  If I don’t see any signs I assume the speed is 65 MPH.  If you are on the kind of pathway the beginning of the verse describes then you are closer to school zone speed.  As a young person with all of the foolishness of a young person I found out that sometimes speed can deal with speed bumps.  There was a neighborhood one of our group lived in.  It had a speed bump.  I don’t know how we figured it out but if we hit the bump at full speed all we experienced was a little “thump, thump” noise as the car sailed through without pausing.  If we went slow we were bounced all over the place.

As an adult I value my car too much to try it again.  There are some things though that are easier to put up with at full speed.

So?  Living right keeps us from losing a lot of time talking to policemen.  I find that I don’t need to step on my brakes as much as a lot of people I know. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Look Harder

(Pro 14:6 KJV) A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

Attitude makes a difference in just about everything we do.  You can see it in drivers.  In sports it can be called “momentum” and make the difference in winning or losing.  I know that it is very hard for me to find things I don’t want to find or that I don’t believe are there.  It is no wonder that some people cannot find any comfort or direction in the Bible.

As believers we need to do what I used to tell kids who would say, “I can’t find the answer.”  I would tell them to assume that the answer was there.  I would not ask the question if it wasn’t.  Sometimes that worked sometimes it didn’t.

So?  After doing a heart check, assume that God is giving you the answer.  It is there whether you see it or not. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Choosing Your Medicine

(Pro 13:14 KJV) The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

When was the last time I chose water, a natural substance, over a man produced concoction?  It doesn’t matter if it is coffee in the morning or Coke Zero in the evening, water is not a serious consideration.  Would I be healthier if I made “wise” (2450) choices?  Probably.  I think the same thing often happens in our spiritual lives.  We choose what we want rather than what is best.

Physically I have made it past my three score and ten with those choices.  Spiritually I don’t think I would be able to say the same because choices have consequences.  If I had made better physical decisions I might be out running marathons.  If I had made worse spiritual choices I would be bound for Hell.

So?  Free will is a burden we are blessed with, or cursed with.  Use it wisely. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Touch

(Pro 12:11 KJV) He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

One of the routines I follow is to look around my bubble every morning and reflect on all the material things I have to be thankful for.  I don’t stop with the wealth represented by electric lights and running water but I start there.  Many times my prayers will strike on the many hands that produced all of the things I take for granted.  How many people kept their hands to the proverbial plow in order to produce my Bible, my chair, the pillow on my bed and the multitude of everyday articles that I take for granted?  Their faithfulness has been a blessing to me and to countless others even if we don’t think about it much.

I wonder what lives my hands have touched.  I have worked construction so I could probably go back and find physical things I had a part in.  As a teacher I touched thousands of lives.  I always wonder if my touch was a blessing, a curse or a waste of everyone’s time. 

So?  I will touch things today, literally and figuratively.  May the touch not be in vain.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Second Impressions

(Pro 11:22 KJV)  As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

How often is the first thing we notice the least important?  I guess there is the need for first impressions, after all, you can’t get to know someone well when you first see them.  Keep in mind that a gold ring probably has the same innate value in a pigs nose that it does in the bottom of your drawer.  The point is, don’t be impressed by the decorations.

I will never be a beautiful woman.  I hope I have never been a pig.  I can however develop the traits and talents that underlay the first impression.  There is no reason why a beautiful woman cannot have “discretion” (2940) but it does not come automatically.

So?  Some things you can fix.  Some things need a work around.  Wisdom knows the difference both in the observer and observed. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Sport Fans

(Pro 10:23 KJV)  It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

Keep in mind that “sport” (7814) can be taken very seriously.  I like competition as long as it isn’t too serious.  When it gets to a certain level I drop out.  I am not willing to put that much into it.  I am not willing to work that hard.  Sporting activity is supposed to be fun, at least to me.

For some the key element of sports is the competition.  They relish coming up against someone who can challenge them to new levels of excellence.  I guess that has its place.  I used to enjoy the Olympics.  I used to watch the World Series.  Then the Olympics became politics and the World Series became a bunch of overpaid brats.  Sports just became another way to manipulate.  That is what is being portrayed as evil here.

So?  What’s your pleasure?  I think two people can do the same thing and depending on their motive, one is evil and one is righteous.  Sometimes it doesn’t even depend on the results, just the attitude. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

(Pro 9:17 KJV) Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Here we have a promise.  We love promises because they promise things.  Too often we don’t stop to think about whether we really want what is being promised.  I sometimes waste time looking at the ads that appear on the edge of my computer screen when I am on the internet.  I often find myself wondering, “Who would be interested in that?”  There must be someone because the ads keep appearing.

Or maybe no one is interested but they think it must be a deal if it is being offered.  During the virus panic there was a shortage of toilet paper.  I remember some posters advertising toilet paper seeds and showing a picture of the empty spools found in the center.  I have wondered if anybody ever called the number to order them.

So?  Keep in mind that often you get what you deserve.  While Jesus came to pay for our sins I am not sure He can do much for stupid. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Gravity?

(Pro 8:27 KJV) When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

Check out Adam Clarke’s comment that this might be the establishment of gravity. 
“Does not this refer to the establishment of the law of gravitation? by which all the particles of matter, tending to a common center, would produce in all bodies the orbicular form, which we see them have; so that even the waters are not only retained within their boundaries, but are subjected to the circular form, in their great aggregate of seas, as other parts of matter are.”
It works in the context of the following verses.  I doubt if that is what Solomon is trying to convey since the scientific principles involved were still in the future but it is interesting how the Bible hints at things still to be discovered.

So?  Read with anticipation and your mind turned on.  You may not be discovering new truth but you may find proofs of old truth. 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Danger, Fantasy Ahead

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

I am still looking for specific ordinances that are being referred to in Proverbs.  This entire chapter seems to be focused on adultery but there is a strong indication that the adultery is not sexual as much as doctrinal.  The illustration can be applied literally but the context is figurative.  Both are causes for concern.  And in reality we are in more danger of doctrinal perversion than sexual pollution. 

I can’t think of anyone in my circle that I would accuse of actually cheating on their spouse.  It could be a lack of imagination or it could just be an awareness that the sexual promiscuity claimed by the world is more a fantasy than a reality.  At the same time I can find a vigorous selection of doctrinal issues from the foolish to the heretical.  Most people who attend church or claim to be Christian have some serious compromises in their belief system.  This comes from either ignoring the written word or deciding to discredit it based on their own wisdom.

So?  Each person has to self check.  The Holy Spirit will help but only if you want it. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Fully Equipped

(Pro 6:32 KJV)  But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

My thinking is geared to the actual sins Proverbs is talking about.  I am running into the same question while I am reading Ezekiel.  This chapter has a varied listing:  Co-signing on a loan, sloth, deceitful talk, winking (yes, winking), causing dissension, arrogance, murder, theft and of course adultery.  If that isn’t long enough for you I could read it again and probably pull out some more.

None of these sins are impossible for us to avoid.  In fact, most of them should be automatically avoided at this point in your life.  That is the result of a steady diet of Wisdom, or it should be.  If we avoid churches where the preaching leads to conviction because it lacks content then it may be we have missed a lot of other things besides an altar call.  If we never read the parts of the Bible that call us to repentance then we have been very limited in our reading.

So?  God calls us to do something He has equipped us to do:  Live an upright life. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Anti-Wisdom

(Pro 5:23 KJV) He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

As I continue looking for specific acts of unrighteousness I see a literal and a figurative focus in this verse.  The literal warning has to do with adultery.  It is clear that Solomon is passing on the word of the Lord about sexual sin. 

The figurative point is that false wisdom is the strange woman that is trying to seduce God’s people into committing spiritual adultery.  In Proverbs we see constant reference to the force of anti-wisdom trying to turn our heads, telling us we don’t need to be bound by God’s hang-ups, saying there is a way of compromise.  As this verse points out, that is the way of death.

So?  Our modern culture is all about watering down the standards of God.  He makes it very clear what He expects.  As always, the choice is ours. 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Straight Mouthed

(Pro 4:24 KJV) Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

As I was reading this chapter today I found myself looking for a specific example of following God’s words and ordinances.  In the entire chapter I found only this verse.  It has to do with honest and open speech.  We need to be reminded on a constant basis the many ways that we are supposed to be different than the culture that surrounds us.  If you were raised watching things like “I Love Lucy” you were possibly vaccinated to think that deceit was funny or could be funny.  The Bible keeps reminding us that nothing is farther from the truth.

In a day where lies are regularly printed in the newspapers and the talking heads on TV would not recognize a fact if they saw it, we are called to be straight talkers.

So?  Be different.  Embrace honesty.  It may be painful but not near as painful as the consequences of disobedience.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Eschaton Author

(Pro 3:7 KJV) Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

How often have you heard, “I guess there is nothing left to do but pray”?  Or how about, “I guess it is up to the Lord now”?  There is something about this religious thing that makes us think that we are the deciding factor and when we reach the end of our rope we can bring God into the picture.  I also guess we have been reminded of this before.

We live in a day with a lot of concerns.  I have news for you:  It has been this way since the beginning.  What we need to learn to do early in the day is remind ourselves that God is still on the throne and we are not the ones to bring in the eschaton.  If you don’t know what that is, neither did the spell check.

So?  Start the day with a deep breath and a reminder that we are His servants.  His job is to be God and ours is to obey joyfully. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

It Makes a Difference

(Pro 2:22 KJV) But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

I have a friend who is really into eschatology.  He thinks the most important thing to understand is the end times and the place of Israel in God’s plan.  One of the central points he keeps making is that God promised the nation of Israel the land.  He promised it forever.  Thus they would be exiled and scattered around the world but in the end they would return.

I think that is part of what is being expressed here.  The NASB talks about the “land” (776) and here the KJV uses “earth”.  Both translations move back and forth between the two at will.  This starts as a reminder to Israel that their tie to the Promised Land depends on their faithfulness.  There must be a way that translates to Gentile believers also.  Now you apply it will depend on your other points of doctrine.

So?  Righteous living makes a difference, now and forever. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Game Is Not Forever

(Pro 1:25 KJV) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:

There comes a point in many relationships where you stop trying to give advice.  It usually isn’t the first time and it may take a lot of offerings before it sinks in that they don’t want to do it your way.  Sometimes they think you will never catch on.  Have you ever loaned someone some money or a tool and the money is never repaid while the tool is eventually returned, broken.  Even us humans can get the message and stop trying to help.

This verse is in the middle of a series of statements about how God has reached the end of His patience.  Some people think they can play the game forever.  God does not just give us enough rope to hang ourselves but the lumber and nails to build the scaffold.  He is patient but He is not stupid.

So?  Most of us know enough to make life better if we would just act on it.  Today is full of choices.  Tomorrow is full of consequences. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

More True Than Ever

(Pro 31:10 KJV) Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

If you look at this as an observation of the women available for marriage then it appears to be more applicable today than ever.  My son is still looking and I would agree with him that there are not many good prospects.  The main reason is that today’s women have been so brainwashed by their public school educations and by culturally appropriate sermons that they have rejected the Biblical model of womanhood. 

We need to understand this is another issue that cuts both ways.  The number of men who are willing to be godly husbands and fathers is also relatively small.  Sin is a lot of fun.  Responsibility is often a drag.

So?  Pray for the next generation. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Fitting

(Pro 30:13 KJV)  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

Have you heard about bad things coming in threes?  We recently had three deaths in our circle which made me think of it.  Then we found out about another death shortly after, so there goes the theory.  Still, it seems that some things go together.  Am I the only one who seems to have car trouble on rainy days on which I forgot to recharge my cell phone? 

We can’t do much about how others behave but we can do something about our own.  Sometimes I will go the opposite of the crowd simply because I feel like so many people in agreement can’t possibly be right.  Sometimes I am a loner because I have thought it out.  I know that I don’t fit in with our current culture.  I still believe there are things that are always wrong and things that are always right.

So?  Keep in mind that although you have a hard time making a round peg fit in a square hole, it is also very difficult to get a car to move on square tires. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Call It As You Saw It

(Pro 29:24 KJV) Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

The second part of this verse is a head scratcher.  The commentators I looked at have a field day with it.  The consensus seems to focus on a court trial in which you are put on the stand and required to take an oath to tell the truth.  While you don’t lie, you don’t tell the truth either.  It is like pleading the 5th for someone else.

So?  This kind of attitude is condemned.  If we are a witness we are to speak the truth.  That seems basic and yet there are many people who have trouble with it. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Appearances

(Pro 28:4 KJV) They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

For some clubs you don’t need a membership card to participate in activities.  Your participation in the activities is all the ID you need.  The real requirement is an attitude that produces certain behaviors.  If you are a thug in a parking lot looking for someone to rob, you watch behavior and ask yourself who is acting in such a way as to be an easy victim.  If you are bar hopping and looking for a temporary companion, you know what to look for.  It isn’t the lady crossing the street so she doesn’t have to walk by the entrance.

Can you tell who is a Christian by behavior?  In many cases, no.  You can fake it.  Can you make some clear decisions based on behavior?  Yes.  When someone introduces me to a same sex partner who they call their spouse, I know there is almost no chance they are Christians.  I say “almost” because it is possible that they are new believers and have not dealt with the sin in their lives yet.

So?  Make sure you are on the team you claim.  It is embarrassing to show up at the club house and find out they have re-keyed the locks. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Curses

(Pro 27:14 KJV) He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

Is this verse eternal truth or just a reflection that Solomon was not a morning person?  Because it is in the Bible we need to assume there is some great principle involved.  It is a reminder that timing is key.  Some people don’t like your cheerful morning face.  Some people should not be told what is in the soup they just ate.  Face it, some people are moody and temperamental.  Don’t assume it is the other guy.

Because the Bible reflects human personality and situations I think it reflects Solomon’s morning grump.  There is a lot of just plain good advice we can find in between mention of creating the universe and the mystery of the trinity.

So?  Go for the exotic or be happy with the common.  I guess it depends on your mood at this time of day. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Could Be

(Pro 26:13 KJV) The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

How did the couch potato know the lion was in the street?  I have a feeling he was too lazy to get up and go look for himself.  He either made it up totally or listened to the gossip that was going around.  This is something we can watch out for in ourselves.  Our creativity can put us into all kinds of panic.

Is the economy going to tank?  Someday.  Will the banks fail?  Eventually.  Will the latest virus get me?  Possible.  Is there a lion in the street?  It has happened.  Do we build our lives on these possibilities?  No.  Is Jesus going to return?  Definitely.  Will we be held accountable for how we responded to the gospel?  Count on it.

So?  It might be a good idea today to invest our energy into dealing what we know will happen rather than what we fear. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Timing

(Pro 25:13 KJV) As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

Timing is important.  If it were January you would not get excited about it being “cold” (6793b).  You would just put on an extra layer or turn the heater a bit higher.  In summer it would be refreshing.  My wife asked me what the thermostat was set at yesterday and, after looking, I told her 75.  She complained about being cold.  At 75 degrees she is cold?  So much is perception and timing.

God allows us to go through many different experiences.  We might not choose them or at least not at the time they come.  Looking back we can often see the benefit and growth from what we did not want.

So?  If it rains on your parade, look for the silver lining or some such mixed metaphor.  God’s sense of timing is better than ours. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Plan Your Trip

(Pro 24:8 KJV) He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.

Who is this guy who “deviseth” (plans NASB) (2803) to “do evil” (7489a)?  One of the big mistakes we make is thinking he is a rare commodity.  In reality he is most of the people we meet.   The Hebrew word is used 5 times in Proverbs but 122 in the Old Testament.  Each time it appears in Proverbs it has some kind of negative connotation.  That is not true in the OT as a whole.  I thought it was interesting that it was used in what I consider the spiritual gift of craftsmanship in the building of the tabernacle. 

The confusion comes because we live in a world where the concept of evil is rejected unless it is applied to Godly people living moral lives.  That is considered evil by our society. 

So?  Make note of the multitude of places where the path of the righteous is totally different than the path of the socially accepted in our culture.  Check your roadmap and make sure you are on the right route.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Rein Dance

(Pro 23:16 KJV) Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

The KJV has “reins” for “inmost being” (3629).  Reins.  Really?  The Hebrew word is literally “kidney” as in  “I love you with all of my kidneys”.  If you think about it there is a concept that you can wrap your head around.  Reins are what are used to control the horses that power the chariot.  They are what the cowboy hero was trying to get hold of as he hung under the charging horses in the old westerns.  It is saying we need to rejoice with what controls us.

So?  If you can’t understand this kind of joy find an infant that is old enough to respond but has no sense of embarrassment.  Get it excited and its entire body will wriggle.  We need to get that jazzed when someone does the right thing. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Handle with Care

(Pro 22:24 KJV) Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

What is the problem with being “hot-tempered” (2534)?  Such people are looking for trouble.  It is interesting that when you follow this word back to its root you find that one of the uses is describing an animal that is “in heat”.  Not only are they ready to rumble but they put out a smell that attracts those who want to participate.  We can sense the anger in people.  We are to avoid it.

So?  Would you want to get into a car driven by someone with a short trigger?  Would you hand a loaded gun to someone who is frothing at the mouth?  God expects us to use our brains.  Don’t disappoint Him. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

To Die For

(Pro 21:25 KJV) The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

What is this “desire” (8378) that has the ability to kill us?  I see it going in at least two directions.  One target is the things desired.  This seems to be a quality shared by people at all levels of wealth.  It is part of the human condition.  As we get older and experience more we desire more.  A newborn does not desire ice cream because he has never tasted ice cream.  There is however a desire for something to fill the void or remove the discomfort.

The second direction is to have without payment.  In the market we call it theft.  In the job market we call it “gold bricking”.  We want to have a better paying job but are not willing to get the training it requires.  We want a fresh salad but are unwilling to pick up a knife and start chopping.  We want our sox picked up but think we are too good.

So?  It may not happen overnight, but wanting without willing to work will kill you. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Lessons to Learn

(Pro 20:30 KJV) The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

Some people only learn the hard way.  Some people refuse to learn until it is too late.  I guess some people never know they have anything to learn, at least in some areas. 

There are two dangers when we have hard times or tragedy.  One is to assume that it is the result of sin.  We are much more ready to see that in others.  The other danger is to refuse to examine ourselves to see if sin could have caused the problem.

So?  Honesty with ourselves is more important than honesty with others.  Having said that, it is not an excuse to deceive others.  Righteousness is a quality that touches all of life. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Mocking Justice

(Pro 19:28 KJV) An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.

Get the big picture here.  There are certain attitudes that are common in our world and too common in the church.  The first part of the verse is a reminder of all the social justice warriors that are making a mockery of the word “justice” or “sound judgement,” depending on your translation.  Regardless of the translation the danger is severe.  I can’t speak for past generations but I can observe what is going on now.  God’s standards are under attack. 

Never forget that justice is based on unchanging truth and values.  It is not to be confused with manipulation for political advantage. 

So?  It has to start somewhere and the burden is on God’s people.  We must live by God’s standards and proclaim God’s truth.  It will not be easy. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Consider the Source

(Pro 18:22 KJV)  Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

When you read this verse remember that Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines.  He still wrote this verse.  Although the Bible does not forbid having more than one wife the New Testament does seem to state a preference.
(Tit 1:6 KJV) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
This admonition is given three times in association with the offices of bishop, deacons and elders.  Solomon might have done better to read what Paul had to say.

So?  Truth is truth even if the speaker isn’t living up to it. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Cover Charge

(Pro 17:9 KJV) He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Can you “cover” (3680) being wronged without forgiving?  As the meme posters say, “Asking for a friend”.  I am sure I would never be confused by this.  But let’s assume I am.  What is the difference between covering and forgiveness? 

I think that covering may be the first step in forgiveness.  It is an attempt to muffle the emotional wailing that often goes on in our hearts.  We are required to avoid vengeance.  We are told not to keep lists.  The first step is covering the wrong.  It cannot stop there.

The danger is in not going the second step.  Things we cover and do not cleans tend to fester and emerge other places.  You can paint over rust and mold.  It does not end the problem.  They must be removed.

So?  Start with covering but move on to forgiveness. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Skeleton Speech

(Pro 16:24 KJV) Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Do you have sick “bones” (6106)?  There are five times the Hebrew word is used in Proverbs and six times the English word is used.  At one end you can have rotten bones.  At the other end you have healing and refreshment that come to the bones.  Sick bones is not something I want.

I can surround myself with people who offer healing words.  I can use healing words myself.  My first reading was that this would come from others but on reading it again and checking the context I think it can also apply to our speech. 

So?  People should be healthier after they have been around us.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Be a Cooler

(Pro 15:18 KJV) A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Although it does not say it specifically, it is implied in this verse that we are to be peacemakers instead of agitators.  It does not mean that there will not be time for action or even anger.  It means that our general outlook is to be one who “appeaseth” (pacifies NASB) (8252) a “strife” (contention NASB) (7379).  It is interesting that the NASB Update changes these words to “calms a dispute”.  I wondered if there was some textual considerations, but no, it seems that the translators just needed something to justify their salary. 

One reason we don’t calm the waters at times may be that we enjoy watching people fuss with each other.  Notice that this also does not say this is to apply only with our issues.  It means that we are to be a calming influence on others with their contentions.

So?  Be what Jesus called “peacemakers”.  Obviously it starts at home but needs to spread once we get out the door. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Another Major Stumbling Block

(Pro 14:5 KJV) A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

Notice what we are to be “faithful” (529) to:  Truth.  I remember a song by the Beach Boys that was “Be True to your School”.  We often have family members or friends who think we are to stick by them even when they are wrong.  By that they mean lie for them or get violent for them.  That is not our calling.

One of the basic differences between the world and those who are real followers of Jesus is that we serve a God of objective absolutes.  He is a person.  He makes allowances.  He is patient.  We could go on in that way but a basic truth that goes along with that is He is immutable, unchanging.  Truth does not change and be are to be faithful to the truth.

So?  Our world is subjective.  For most people truth is what fits their agenda.  For us truth is what is. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Happy Endings

(Pro 13:13 KJV) Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

It doesn’t really matter if you buy into what the Bible says.  It is kind of like agreeing with the law of gravity.  It will not be denied. 

We need to come to an understanding about the word of God and the laws of nature.  Both are laid down without our approval.  Both are in the end beyond our total understanding.  The big question is will we try to grasp them and work with them or will we continue to fight against them.

So?  Think of things like the day’s priorities and the plans based on them.  I hope you don’t plan on jumping off the roof or insisting that you are a god.  Neither promises a happy ending. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Happy Kitty

(Pro 12:10 KJV) A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

How can “tender mercies” (compassion NASB) (7356) be “cruel” (394)?  Here the emphasis is on the “wicked” (7563) but the concept can be seen other places.  I am currently watching a toddler and her cat.  It is amazing what the cat will put up with.  The child loves the cat.  They are buddies.  At the same time the little girl will sometimes try to pick up the cat by its head.  This does not create a happy kitty. 

The intent may be to show affection.  The wickedness at this age is ignorance and lack of understanding but there is also an element of self centeredness and willfulness.  Even when she is told “no” in no uncertain terms the child continues in what she wants to do.  Hopefully she will grow out of that.  Often we do not.  In our hearts we are all cruel in the sense that we are self centered and see things through our own senses. 

So?  There are times to do things God’s way simply because He knows what is best.  The ancient Israelites probably did not know the purpose of washing or avoiding certain foods.  The reasons for the actions still had value.  Obey even when you don’t know why. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Don’t Settle for a Jersey

(Pro 11:21 KJV)  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

This is a reminder that there are two basic categories of human beings.  On the one hand you have the “wicked” (evil man NASB) (7451a) and on the other you have the “righteous” (6662).  We like to think of people as a spectrum.  Part of that is because we want to make allowances for those we love and part is to make excuses for our own lack of commitment.  There are still only two categories.

You are either on God’s team or not.  When you go to a sporting event like baseball you see people wearing team jerseys complete with numbers and sometimes they even have their names stitched on the back.  Does that make them part of the team or just a wannabe?  The odds are they are just dreamers because if they were really on the team they would not be in the stands but out running around the field. 

So?  Another question that we can only answer for ourselves:  Are you on God’s team or just settling for the jersey? 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Wait for It

(Pro 10:22 KJV) The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

I am wondering today as I look at this verse if the really important things in life, the wealth that endures, are always a result of delayed gratification.  Or at least it might be things that require time to develop.  Think of the difference between American Cheese and an aged cheese that you really enjoy.  Think of the difference between saltines and a nice French bread that was allowed to rise.  Think of the difference between your child as a productive adult and during the terrible two’s. 

I am old enough to look back.  I see decisions I made that I have regretted repeatedly and yet when I look at the long term results, I am blessed.

So?  It is easy to say and hard to do.  Take the long view.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Simply Naive

(Pro 9:16 KJV) Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

Is it “naive” (6612a) (NASB) or “simple” (KJV)?  It is interesting how language changes.  Today we think of simple as being a bit retarded in our thought processes.  We are not capable of comprehending the complexities of our day.  Naive is more of a temporary condition.  My granddaughter does not understand gravity.  You could say she is naive.  She does not understand that when you crawl up the back of a kitchen chair is will probably fall over on top of you.  At least she did not understand that she was naive.  She got slammed.  How many times she will have to experience this will be a lesson in her ability to learn.  If she never learns it then she is simple. 

Some of us learn very slowly.  Is it by choice or by ability?  Only God really knows and He isn’t telling.  As far as it is possible we need to learn from our experiences.

So?  I keep making mistakes.  I keep hoping I will learn something from them. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Smoking Equations

(Pro 8:26 KJV) While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

How would you have described the physics of creation to an iron age population?  For that matter how would you describe it to our modern minds?  I think in either case it would be pointless to try to get into an accurate description of sub-atomic physics and probability in quantum calculations.  Keep in mind that most people can’t do fractions and percentages.  That leaves poetic license to get across the basic truth.

So?  The basic truth is that unchanging wisdom has been around longer than you can imagine.  Along with that, God is in control.  Does it mean that we don’t keep up the search for answers?  No.  It means we don’t get stressed out about the search.  Put that in your equation and smoke it.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Cover Art

(Pro 7:10 KJV) And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.

We are often told not to judge people by how they dress or by outward appearances.  A popular way of saying it was, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  Of course someone asked, “Then what is the cover for?”  This is a reminder of our need for discernment.  Think of all the things we judge by superficial observation.  Think about how often the initial impression is wrong.  With people we often think someone is intelligent and informed only to find out that they are a really slow person who had someone coach them and dress them.  Have you ever read a headline and found out that the article does not back it up?  One thing I will sometimes do is examine the cover of a book after I have read it and see if the artist had bothered to find out the story line.

That is common wisdom and often experience.  We are told, however, that often what we see is what we get.  If I see a 60 year old man with a lot of chest hair and gold medallions, I know not to take him seriously.  If I see a women with lots of skin showing and clothes that are designed to stimulate male observers, I know a bit about where she is coming from.

So?  We need to make sure that we are good book covers for the hope that is in us.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Long Term Effects

(Pro 6:32 KJV)  But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

Why does the Bible warn us about sin?  Why is it said that if you like something it is either fattening or sinful?  Think of yourself as a toddler.  You don’t have a clue about your world.  You are exploring and sampling experiences.  The biggest frustration you have is this big person who keeps telling you, “No.”  So you throw a tantrum.  Then you learn that is a “no” too.

That adult in the room is trying to keep you from destroying yourself.  The idea of destruction is the force that corrupts and decays.  This word does not seem suited to an explosion as much as a gradual crumbling. 

So?  Keep in mind that just because you don’t see any immediate catastrophe does not mean that the long term results of rejecting God’s standards will not be ugly. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Wind Up

(Pro 5:22 KJV) His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

I was trying to bind up some brush so that the trash collectors would take it.  I was also trying to find a use for some very old twine that we had laying around.  The string was well on the way to decomposing into its original elements but my theory was that if I wrapped it around the branches enough times, it would hold.  Each time I wound it around increased the strength of the hold.  I would imagine that if I tied someone up with it, and wrapped it enough, it would hold them. 

Sin is like that.  On God’s side, with the cleansing blood of the Lamb, it is like cutting old string with a sharp knife.  On our side it gets harder to repent as we continue in sin. 

So?  The time to repent is when you realize you are wandering.  God’s grace will always be sufficient but your stubbornness may keep you from the throne. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Durable Reward

(Pro 4:9 KJV) She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Have you ever had someone ask, “What difference does it make?”  We all know a famous politician who asked something like that.  My son asked it when a family friend was relentlessly pounding out his interpretation of the end times.  I often would like to ask it of people talking about the latest events in the sports world.

Having wisdom makes a difference.  Here the reward is personal.  Here we do not focus on how wisdom can change our world but what it can mean to us.  I like the KJV use of “glory” (8597) rather than the “beauty” of the NASB.  Beauty is about appearances.  Glory goes all the way through.  Beauty always fades.  Glory can endure.

So?  It would be nice if we had something simple to apply like the skin creams women use to achieve beauty but I don’t think it is going to happen.  This is where the “seek and ye shall find” comes in. 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Which Way Is North?

(Pro 3:6 KJV) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God is going to do something with the trail our life follows.  Being a believer makes a difference in our decisions and our directions.  I like both the KJV “direct” (3474) and the NASB “make straight”.  The KJV reminds us of God’s sovereignty and the NASB of His holiness.

Direction is hard for some people to establish.  Have you ever had someone ask what direction they are traveling when the setting sun is shining in their eyes?  Or how about the newer cars that have a compass built in and there is a clear indication of the direction?  Is the lack of knowledge because there is no information?  The same is true in our daily walk with Jesus.

So?  I guess it is necessary to decide we want to walk straight before we can do so.  The willingness to follow direction makes it possible to do so. 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Bank on It

(Pro 2:21 KJV) For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

As I write we are living in the panic of Chinavirus 2020.  There is a lot of fear and uncertainty.  Where is the line between common sense precautions and foolish overreaction?  Are we dealing with an end of the world scenario or is it just a hyped flu season?  Either way this passage has a message for us:  Live “upright” (3477), be “blameless” (8549). 

There is a danger in assuming that every bad break in life is a result of sin.  There is an arrogance in assuming you are more spiritual because you are better off.  At the same time there are repeated promises that those who live God’s way will see better times and less tragedy.

So?  Take it to the bank.  Invest your life in righteousness.  It pays dividends. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

The End of Gentle

(Pro 1:24 KJV) Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

This is the beginning of a very serious warning that Christians as a whole don’t like to admit exists, even if it does not apply to them.  We have this idea that God is love.  Why?  Because the Bible tells us so.  That problem is that we think this is the insipid love of contemporary culture and forget that it is the love of a holy God.  It isn’t just the tough love that James Dobson used to write about.  It is the sin-grinding love of the Holy One of Israel.  He does not play around.

This reminds us that God communicates with us.  If you read your Bible much it is obvious that He has a long history of second chances.  This points out that people do not listen.  It is the groundwork for tragedy.

So?  It is dangerous not to listen at times.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t hear your wife telling you to take out the garbage.  It does matter if she is screaming that the house is on fire. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

More Needs Changing Than the Diaper

(Pro 30:12 KJV)  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

I like the way the KJV uses “generation” (1755) instead of the “kind” of the NASB.  We talk about the baby boomers and millennials.  Each one has some general tendencies.  Each has those outside the box.  So maybe it is safe to use the NASB translation because the tendency to be self centered goes beyond when you were born or how old you are.

With a toddler in our house the self-centeredness is very clear.  We often joke about how original sin is rearing its ugly head.  The newborn is even worse.  The world must stop when the diaper is wet.  There is no negotiation, only changes.  Some people are like this.  Actually all of us are like this until “washed” (7364) by the blood of the Lamb.

So?  We can learn to control the self-centeredness of life but we will never overcome it until God does a great work in us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Perpetual Conflict

(Pro 29:23 KJV) A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

As I compare the KJV and NASB I see a different word order.  In the KJV it seems that “honor” (3519b) is key to having humility.  In the NASB the “humble” (8217) “spirit” (7307) seems to lead to honor.  I think that literary style would lend itself more to the NASB translation.  Notice the way in which the first part of the verse is laid out.  Keep in mind that the literary style in Proverbs allows for parallel thoughts.

I think the point is that God slaps down the arrogant and lifts up the submissive.

So?  As modern Americans we tend to think of ourselves as calling the tunes for God.  Actually that is part of the sinful nature that God is trying to cure.  It affected Adam.  It is still a battle that can only be cured by divine intervention. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Poor at Oppression

(Pro 28:3 KJV) A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

We have been so brainwashed by socialist thinking that we believe that oppression is a function of the rich and not a result of human depravity.  It is possible to be righteous and rich at the same time.  It is possible to be poor and depraved at the same time.  Our financial status does not require certain types of behavior.  Rich people are just more powerful and have more options.  This is why so many people on the left hate America.  Poor Americans are wealthier than most people in the third world.  Therefore America must be evil.

So?  When God cleans up a heart that heart begins to clean up our actions.  What America needs is revival not prosperity.  What I need is revival.  I will let you decide for you. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Loan Stewardship

(Pro 27:13 KJV) Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

When it comes to borrowing and loaning money you need to put your thinking cap on.  It is not as simple as it seems.  We see repeated statements in Proverbs that borrowing is bad news.  That is a simple truth but there are times when people have their backs against the wall and have no choice.  That applies to this verse because the simple minded fool being talked about here borrows when he doesn’t have to.  He does not know the difference between want and need.  In that situation, take his coat in payment.

In cases of genuine need the rule is different. 
(Exo 22:26 KJV) If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
The context here is a genuinely poor person in desperate need.  In fact the previous verse tells you that in situations like that you can’t charge interest.
(Exo 22:25 KJV) If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
So?  If you are the one needing money, make sure it is a need and there are no other avenues.  If you are the one with a little extra, discernment is also required.  Either don’t loan because the “need” is imagined or loan with no interest and no foreclosure.  It demands responsibility on both sides.  It is called being upright, both for the poor and the wealthy.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Blessing of Sounding Silly

(Pro 26:12 KJV) Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Expressing your opinions can be a valuable experience.  This works best when you have people around you who will argue with you.  Theological arguments are of great value if they are done with the right attitude.  I have a friend that I am always going head to head with.  He has some ideas that I describe with such words as “naive” and “ridiculous”.  He feels the same way about what I have to say.  So far we have kept on good terms.  We keep quoting that verse,
(Pro 27:17 KJV) Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
It works for us.  I find that being forced to verbally defend my positions helps me think them through.

Another experience I have had tells me that when we hear our ideas verbalized it often becomes clear how silly they are.  Have you been there?

So?  Speak but listen.  It can be shocking how much we have to learn. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Back and Forth

(Pro 25:12 KJV)  As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

We are here in the middle of a bunch of comparisons, trying to get across to us how important it is to listen when someone shares wisdom with us.  Good advice is good.  It is valuable, but only if it is applied. 

So?  Think back and spend a moment wondering how your life would be different if you had listened a little better.  Imagine the future and what a difference it can make. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tongue Biter

(Pro 24:7 KJV) Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.

I wish this were prophecy rather than wisdom.  The reason I say that is the second part of the verse which seems to be nothing but a wish.  Unfortunately the “fool” (191) is always opening his mouth.  It is one of the characteristics of the fool.

Which makes me wonder about myself.  I am sometimes accused of always wanting to have the last word.  Usually the person who accuses me of that keeps insisting on the last word so the criticism is a bit hollow, but there is enough truth in it to stop and think.  Just because the person criticizing is a bit of a hypocrite does not mean the comment doesn’t have some residual value.

So?  For me it might mean learning to bite my tongue and walk away.  For you it could be something totally different. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Easy Come, Easy Go

(Pro 23:15 KJV) My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

This is Solomon talking to his boy.  I have to believe it was written early in his life, when his sons were still young, possibly right after the first one was born.  It is sad to say that he is going to be disappointed, or maybe not.

He will be disappointed because his children will not demonstrate wisdom.  They will not have wise hearts.  He might not be disappointed because it you read through Solomon’s life you will find that at the end he seems to have turned away from God. 

So?  Life will go much better if we chart our course as God directs us and then stick with it.  Our children’s lives will go better also. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Judgment Game

(Pro 22:23 KJV) For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

I wonder if this is an insight into judgement day.  I think of all the excuses we have and how we have even convinced ourselves that they are reasons.  When I think of so many people claiming “it is for the children” when it causes more harm than it helps.  The world is full of people who know what is best for us and, by the way, will benefit them in some way.

God is watching.  He knows our hearts.  He does not use the same scale we prefer.  His scale is eternal justice with a foundation of righteousness.

So?  I need to really work hard not to fool myself.  God is not amused. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Proud and Proud

(Pro 21:24 KJV) Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

All is summed up in “insolent pride” (2087) of the NASB or the “proud wrath” of the KJV.  There is something going on here at a level I cannot discover.  The KJV tools tell me there are two Hebrew words, “proud” (2087) and “wrath” (5678).  The NASB has 2087 twice even though the translation seems to follow the KJV.  Did the NASB translators bow to the traditional translation? 

Either way pride is a problem.  The modifiers help us to see the difference between such things as being proud of your family and being self centered to the point of attacking everything else.

So?  Humility and an awareness of our dependence on God are always important. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Gilded

(Pro 20:29 KJV) The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

As one who is officially “old” (2205) I am a bit resentful that my hair color is mentioned and not my wisdom and experience.  We don’t always get what we want.  Often we don’t get what we deserve and that can be a good thing. 

Keep in mind that in Proverbs context is usually worthless and that is the case here.  It would seem to be saying that our culture looks at outward signs that we have little control over and awards merit badges based on them.  The strength of youth simply means that they are young.  Gray hair comes to most people without any effort on their part.

So?  It would be good if we would learn to evaluate based on things that are worthwhile rather than what is obvious.  We have an election coming.  We go shopping every day.  We have some control over whom our friends will be.  Look deep. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Two Sides of a Coin

(Pro 19:27 KJV) Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

This verse in two translations is like coming to an intersection with two “Danger” signs.  One points to the left and the other to the right.  Which is correct?  If you were driving you would logically conclude that both are and that the only safe way is straight ahead.  That is what we are look at here.  The point is that you need to be very careful whom you listen to. 

Think about the input to your ears each day.  You might have music on all day.  When is the last time you really listened to the words and asked yourself what they meant?  You might have talk radio or the TV on non-stop.  You may sit in restaurants and listen to the conversations going on around you. 

So?  The only way you can know what is worth listening to is to know what is healthy.  The only way you can know that for sure is to do your own reading and thinking.  Start with the Bible and go from there, but then you knew I would say that. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Verbal Diet

(Pro 18:21 KJV) Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Many of us love to talk.  I think of myself as a loner and an introvert but there are times when I realize my mouth has been running on automatic.  That is a scary thing.  What makes me think that people want to listen to my opinions, or read them in the case of my internet posts. 

The internet is a reflection of the mind of God.  Like God, the internet never forgets.  It might be that your wife or a co-worker is the same way.  What will the record show?

So?  As usual, the less said the better.  I guess a corollary could be that the well said is the exception.  You never need to eat words that are never spoken. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Conned

(Pro 17:8 KJV) A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

How are we to get things done?  What are the tools of success?  Here we see acknowledgment that bribery works.  As I study this today it does not seem that this is a mark of approval, just an observation of cause and effect.  This type of person looks at the “bribe” (7810) like a magic elixir that causes the results he desires. 

People can be bought.  It can be through money but is not limited to that.  How many of us find ourselves won over by flattery?  It is easy to compromise simply to avoid criticism or to embrace being part of the group. 

So?  This could be taken as a warning for us as much as a comment on how some people operate.  This is why it is so important for us to know right from wrong.  It is vital that our moral standards are based on the righteousness of God rather than the whim of our contemporaries.  If we end up buying a cool pair of shoes it is not the end of the world but if we are conned into rejecting someone in need of kindness we could have effected an eternity. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Source

(Pro 16:23 KJV) The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

Perhaps we are looking at an element of wisdom here.  I think we can agree that wisdom is not locked in with knowledge, intelligence or political power.  It would seem that in addition to those valuable assets you need a “heart” (3820) that is right.  Keep in mind that wisdom starts with a fear of the Lord.

Great teachers have had a great teacher.  It could be another human being.  It could be experience.  It will need the involvement of the Great Teacher, the Holy Spirit.

So?  It is such a good idea to start your day by seeking the heart and mind of the Lord.  I know I find it necessary. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

RSVP

(Pro 15:17 KJV) Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

One of the things this is talking about is the gift of hospitality.  I don’t know about your circles but we have been noticing for years that people do not do a lot of “have them over for dinner” anymore.  I think this goes back at least a decade in our observation.  We have tried reaching out.  There is a pattern.  People look confused but agree to come for dinner.  They arrive and stay late, obviously having a good time.  There is no reciprocation.  It is a one way street. 

At one point when we were getting involved in a new church we saw this pattern.  We had been attending a few years and were in a discussion on why the church was not growing.  Keep in mind that this was a church with a nice facility in a good location with a steady stream of visitors.  I asked a guy who was at the heart of the church but was not related to the core, founding family, “Other than us and the pastor, how many people in this church have had you to their house for dinner?”  He didn’t need to think long to say, “None.” 

What this verse tells us is we need to have people over for simple meals.  Don’t let a lack of fine china stop you.  It doesn’t matter if you are not a gourmet cook.  Go against the cultural norm of our day and have someone over for sandwiches and some koinonia. 

So?  Open your home and be gracious.  It may not be returned but it can be given. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Be an Ox

(Pro 14:4 KJV) Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

I wonder if I will ever have the courage to quote this to my wife.  She would probably respond that “ox” is the right word and tell me to clean up my work bench.  We tend to make evaluations based on the superficial or momentary rather than looking to deeper issues.  Just because my desk is a mess doesn’t mean that I don’t know where things are or that I am getting nothing done.

So?  I need to respond by considering whether I am making excuses for not cleaning up or it is really the result of actions well done. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Change Your Heart

(Pro 13:12 KJV) Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

I think I have been “heart” (3820) “sick” (2470) more than I want to admit.  This is a rearrangement of the word order in the translations but it just as applicable.  One of the words used to define this sickness is “weak”.  What happens when you don’t use your muscles?  They get weak and if our bodies get weak we are more susceptible to disease and injury.  The same is true of our spiritual lives.

This points out that we have a strong say in our spiritual condition.  Depressed?  Moody?  Angry?  Maybe it would help to concentrate on hope instead of slights.

So?  I need to focus on shaping up those parts of my mental and spiritual condition that I can influence.  It is probably more than I want to admit. 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Servants or Bread

(Pro 12:9 KJV)  He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Don’t get distracted by the “servant” (5650).  It was considered normal for people of even modest income to have servants up until the 20th century.  Being a servant was lower class but had the advantage of security.  In modern times servants are assumed to be only for the very rich.  We have replaced them with electronic gadgets.  The point is that our well being depends on our ability to provide rather than our pride.  Adam Clarke offers the Vulgate translation which gives us a feel.
“Better is the poor man who provides for himself, than the proud who is destitute of bread.”
So?  Don’t be impressed by the appearance of wealth.  Be satisfied with enough. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Delightful

(Pro 11:20 KJV) They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.

Good news.  It is possible to live “blameless” (8549) lives in the eyes of God.  Again we must state that if it were not possible to live holy lives, statements like this would be meaningless.  We also need to remember that this is from God’s point of view.  It does not mean that you will live up to the high standards of your mother-in-law or your friendly IRS auditor.  God is the one who defines and explains righteousness.

Maybe that is why some people don’t believe they can live right.  They measure by the rules of their church or the opinions of their friends.  That will always lead to failure.  Or they simply don’t want to miss out on what they think is “all the fun”.

So?  It is possible but it needs to be a priority.  The part that worries me is that it does not seem to be an option. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Cotton Candy Evangelism

(Pro 10:21 KJV) The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

One of the points made to push people to witness and evangelize is that you may be the only source of contact the non-believer has with the gospel.  I think there is a bit of cotton candy theology mixed in with that.  Cotton candy is formed by taking a small amount of sugar and adding a lot of air to make it look a lot bigger.  I think it is safe to say that just about everyone we come in contact with has been touched by either the gospel or some kind of pre-gospel presentation.  Notice in the verse that there seems to be plenty of wisdom available but the fools are not accessing it.

Think about the presentation points.  Most traditional Christmas carols have the redemption story worked in.  We have holidays that are based on the concept of saints.  Valentine and Patrick come to mind.  Many cartoons strips make reference to spiritual things.  The information is out there, just ignored or deliberately avoided. 

So?  Be ready to make a defense of your hope as Peter tells us.  Don’t get trapped into thinking it all depends on how many verses you have mastered in the right order.  They need to be willing to listen and prepared by the Holy Spirit. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Are You Hearing Voices?

(Pro 9:15 KJV) To call passengers who go right on their ways:

Let’s assume for a moment that we are part of those who are trying to walk in righteousness.  That is the group referred to at the end of this verse.  Also assume that evil forces are trying to get us to listen to their sales pitch.  Should we?  I would say that we need to listen as long as it takes us to find out if they are a voice of righteousness or a voice of sin.

That is going to be different for each of us.  If you are well versed in scripture it might not take you long to pick up the twists of the lies.  It might even be necessary to listen longer because you are trying to understand them so you can defend against them.  Each of us is going to have to decide what we can handle.  I am trying to work through the Koran again because I want to understand Islam.  At the same time I quit reading a commentary on Isaiah that was written by a lock step Calvinist.  The difference is that the Koran is not being read for spiritual enlightenment and the commentary was.  I assume I can’t trust the Koran.  I can’t afford that in a commentary.

So?  We can’t shut the world out but we can filter what gets our attention.  Following the Living God means having a living brain. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Long Term Investments

(Pro 8:25 KJV) Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

I have an ongoing debate with a friend about something called dispensationalism.  It is an interesting conversation that forces me to think about what I believe and why I believe it.  I went to a website that he uses for reference and looked around a bit.  One of the things that I found was a claim that the Christian church had been missing this important insight that they had.  This new idea changed everything.  That is my paraphrase but I think it is honest.

Someone older and wiser once said that if it is new it probably isn’t true and if it is true, it probably isn’t new.  That again is a paraphrase.  It is a good bit of advice.  That is double true when it comes to theology or understanding in the Bible.  There are no great new truths to be uncovered.  We can be reminded, renewed and redirected but not given a whole new message.

So?  Don’t waste a lot of time with popular new gurus.  Invest in that which has been around for the ages.  It will still be there tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Planning to Fall

(Pro 7:9 KJV) In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

For most of us the times listed in this verse are our times of most vulnerability.  We are tired and unfocused.  If there is a part of the day when we are least attentive, these qualify.  This is when the young man in question is moving toward tragedy.  He is moving step by step.  He has plenty of opportunity to change or withdraw, but onward he goes.

So?  Most of our great sins were seen a long way off.  They are the ones that are harder to have forgiven because they were not moments of weakness but the result of planning and choice.  The time to avoid sin is when it first occurs to us. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

What a Bargain

(Pro 6:31 KJV) But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

On the eternal standard, sin must be punished.  Wrong must be righted.  It goes along with the science fiction concept TANSTAAFL.  That stands for “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.  Eventually all of the things people think they are getting away with will be rewarded.  The only difference between people is where and when.

The good news of the gospel is that God has made provision for our sins.  There is a way to balance the scale without spending an eternity in hell.  Jesus did that on the cross.  He is called The Perfect Lamb of God because He was a sacrifice worthy of paying the price for our sin.  He was the price.  In Proverbs the thief is to pay seven times.  In eternal terms there is no way we can pay.  Jesus can.

So?  The key is when and where.  If we wait too long then the deal is off. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Baby Monitor

(Pro 5:21 KJV) For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

As I write I am in the sight of a security monitor.  I have no idea if anyone is watching, but it is possible.  It is in my room to monitor the baby crib during nap time but it can be accessed whenever someone once to take the time.  I tend to forget about it.  I was reminded of it one day when my wife spoke to me through its little speaker.  You see it also has the ability to let the parent tell the kid to lay down.  It is a bit startling to have the walls start talking to you.

It is easy to forget that God is watching.  He knows what color underwear you have on.  He sees you sneak that extra cookie.  It even goes further, He knows what you are thinking.

So?  Live like someone is taking notes because Someone is.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

High Ways

(Pro 4:8 KJV) Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

I know you wish this was your wife being spoken about.  It would be a great proof text for marital relations.  It would be so easy.  Unfortunately it is referring to wisdom. 

We are to “exalt” (prize NASB) (5549) wisdom.  I think the KJV gets more of the nuance here.  As I was looking at the definitions I saw “to cast up a highway”.  If you have ever needed to drive on a road during a massive storm you know how grateful you can be when the engineers designing it paid attention to drainage patterns in the area.  To keep clear the road must be above possible water levels in a time of flood.  The same is true of wisdom.  It must be above the churning floods of life.  We must keep it high and dry.

So?  One point of wisdom is to lift us out of the mud.  Build the highway of your life well. 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Clueless

(Pro 3:5 KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

"Understanding" (998) ultimately must be based on God's view of things, not on ours.  We are forced into mystery here.  Some truth we will see.  Some truth is currently beyond us.  I think of what it is like living with an inquisitive toddler in the house.  She wants to examine everything.  Sometimes I tell her “no” because I know if she opens a drawer she will see the tissue and decide that she needs to blow here nose, again and again.  Her understanding makes it a priority.  Other times I might forbid a sharp knife to her because I know what it can do and she doesn’t have a clue.

So?  Face it.  There are many times in life when we don’t have a clue.  This can be when we can’t see a clear choice.  It can also be when a resounding “no” is to save us from unseen danger.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Heroic Choices

(Pro 2:20 KJV) That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

Recently the untimely death of a famous athlete was in the news.  It really doesn’t matter who he was.  I knew the name but nothing about him.  As expected, some of the headlines were about the glowing and tear rendering praises heaped upon him at the funeral and memorial services.  Were they deserved?  I have no idea.  What bothered me more was the number of people who talked about him as if he were a great hero, someone to be emulated. 

He was an athlete.  He had a combination of specific skills that made him a whiz at playing a sport.  Those skills might have made him useless in another sport.  Either way this is not enough to make him a hero.  We need to get over spending so much time praising quarterbacks, forwards and short stops.  They make the world a better place by taking people’s minds off of the struggles of life but they don’t really improve anyone’s life.

So?  Look for heroes among those who model goodness and righteousness.  We don’t need more great pitchers, we need more great fathers.  You also have a much better chance of being the latter, unless you are a woman, of course. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Rejoice in Reproof

(Pro 1:23 KJV) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Which comes first, the “turn” (7725) or the “pour” (5042)?  Is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit a cause or an effect of repentance?  I would say both. 

If we refuse to admit we are sinners and have no desire to change course, there is little point in sending the Holy Spirit to do a work in us.  Few Christians, except die-hard, five point Calvinists, believe that God coerces people into belief.  If there is no buy-in on the part of the sinner the path of salvation runs into a wall. 

As we walk with Jesus there are numerous corrections that will need to be made.  Some of it is just part of the learning curve.  Some will be the result of sin.  We will become aware of the need for repentance.  It can come from the simple inner conviction given by the Holy Spirit and run a spectrum to being confronted by someone who knows you well.

So?  Being corrected is part of the spiritual path we all walk.  Count is a progress. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Boardwalk Principle

(Pro 31:9 KJV) Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

It is important that we notice the modifying term “righteously” (6664).  This is a concept that does not fit into the recipe of modern culture.  It is like adding cayenne as you make a creme brulee.  Righteousness is a concept that brings our modern world to a screaming halt.  It says “No”, which is not the big problem, although it is problem enough.  What is rabidly rejected is, “Because God said so.” 

Take for instance the current sexual revolution.  In most sectors it is still frowned upon to cheat on your spouse.  Adultery is still considered wrong, unless of course, she deserves it.  Everything else is a go.  God says, “Not so fast.”  The secular forces keep running into this. 

So?  If you are going to play a board game you need to know the rules.  In life, God is the one who makes the rules.  You can kick and scream all you want it doesn’t change the fact that landing on Boardwalk with hotels will probably wipe you out.