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.

Monday, January 27, 2020

What Kind of Chips Fall from Your Block

(Pro 27:11 KJV) My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Do you have children?  If not then they have never embarrassed you.  Children have a way of saying less than wise things at less than right times.  It happens.  It is life.  Usually it becomes something the family can joke about for years to come.  That does not naturalize the possibility that your son doesn’t stand the test of time.

The test comes when they grow up.  In today’s world that means that they will be out of step with the common culture.  People may think you have reason to be embarrassed.  People may think you are disappointed.  If your son is walking the high road then it is the reproach that will not hold water.

So?  If they are your children, raise them right.  If they are not, be the best influence you can be.  After that it is up to them. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Fool in the Hand

(Pro 26:9 KJV)  As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

I have never been drunk so I am not sure how to take this.  Does it mean that the drunkard is so far out of contact with reality that they don’t feel the pain?  Does it mean that they feel it but it doesn’t bother them?  Does it mean that they overreact?  I would imagine that different drunks would react differently.  In any case it would seem that wisdom is of little use to people with their minds messed up.

This would also imply that fools are dead to wisdom.  How do you know who is a fool.  That will take a bit more reading but Proverbs does not stint on the aspects of fools. 

So?  Accept the fact that many of the people you deal with would fall into this category.  Fools exist.  I hope to avoid being one. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Public Domain

(Pro 25:9 KJV) Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

One of the repeated lessons of Proverbs is to slow down, think and not rush into anything.  That is the issue again here.  How often do we get into a discussion and have it degenerate into a heated argument and then we end up sharing something that was not meant to be shared?  It could be a struggle someone else is having.  They may have even had victory and you are just sharing the results, but it was not your place to share. 

This is not a command to refrain from heated discussions.  It is not an expectation that we just agree with everything we hear.  It is an instruction to be careful of what we share about others.

So?  Have some great discussions this year.  People need to hear truth.  Make sure the truth you share is in the public domain. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Putting Life into IKEA

(Pro 24:4 KJV) And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Man has a materialism magnet inside his heart.  We can’t help it.  We are physical beings living in a physical world.  You can’t eat a philosophical position and having the right position on the trinity will not keep you warm on a cold night.  We need a certain amount of wealth to survive and live decent lives.  In spite of that, material things are not enough. 

Our hearts, minds and homes need more than electricity and a well stocked kitchen.  If you have never been to an IKEA store you might want to see one.  At one place in the store they have models that show you how you can have a two bedroom house in under 700 square feet.  Of course it is stocked with their products.  What is missing is the “knowledge” that makes it a place you would want to come home to. 

So?  Make sure that you know where you stand in relation to things eternal.  That is the key to making all the other stuff of life have any real value. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Not Montessori

(Pro 23:12 KJV) Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

The Bible assumes that learning will not be fun.  I know that is the common mantra of education today, “Make learning fun.”  It may be possible in a cooking class or PE but not so much in Constitutional law or The Theology of Romans 101.  We see that in the use of the word translated “discipline” (4148) in the NASB and “instruction” in the KJV.  To us and our modern Montessori approach to education we don’t see them going together.  The Bible knows the hearts of mankind and knows real knowledge is an uphill climb.

As adults who are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can often discipline ourselves.  That is good.  If we get lazy then it is time for some applied chastisement, which is at the root of discipline.

So?  Push yourself.  Reorganize your day.  Search your heart and see if repentance is part of the order of the day. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Literary Society

(Pro 22:20 KJV) Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Part of the heritage Christians received from the Jews is a religion that demands literacy.  We have seen how this worked out in history.  The original Sunday School classes were established to teach poor children to read.  The early settlers in America established schools and colleges so that their children could read and go on to read great things.  The Bible is full of references like this that talk about writing things down and reading things.

Oral tradition is nice.  Testimony can be uplifting.  Experience teaches.  Over it all is the written word God has given us, the Bible. 

So?  Use the resources we have.  There is no excuse for ignorance in a literary society and since God wants all to come to salvation, read and teach to read. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Long Term Investment

(Pro 21:21 KJV) He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

We are to live upright and holy lives.  This points out that “righteousness” (6666) does not exist in a vacuum nor stand alone.  Here it points out that in addition there is “life” (2416 in KJV and 2425b in NASB) and “honor” (3519b). 

I believe that living God’s way is the only way to know everything that this physical world has to offer.  Righteousness drives away depressions and despondency.  It liberates our minds so that we can see all the beauty and opportunity around us.  It gives us a perspective of trust that allows us to anticipate tomorrow. 

So?  We don’t just believe it, we live it.  Sure we wonder what is going to happen with the economy and have concerns about rogue states having nuclear weapons but that is tempered with a life invested in the eternal not just glued to the temporary. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Kings Are Not Farmers

(Pro 20:26 KJV) A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

I think the NASB misses the target of this verse by using “winnows” (2119).  It isn’t wrong in the sense that the meaning is impossible but they seem to be trying for an agricultural metaphor instead of war.  It is a matter of passive and active.

The farmer winnows by tossing the threshed material up in the air and letting the wind blow the lighter chaff away, leaving the heavier grain. It is a natural separation.  The king winnows by driving the evil out. 

It is possible that this is a reminder that we as commoners are to be more patient with the evil around us.  We are not in a position to do much so long suffering is our situation.  Those in authority have a greater responsibility.  They are to actively drive the evil out. 

So?  When we vote and interact with our leaders we need to understand that they have a greater calling in this sense than we do. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Don’t Be a Fox

(Pro 19:25 KJV) Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.

At first reading it seems a good thing for the “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a) to become “beware” (become shrewd NASB) (6191).  But based on the context I wonder if this is a good idea.  Of all the words used to define this “crafty” is probably the best.  It means sneaky.  The KJV gets at the point.  Discipline to someone who rejects the things of God does not bring the awareness leading to repentance but the sense of self preservation that makes them look out for traps.  They become aware so that they can continue to sin.

Picture some modern computer games.  Players have multiple lives because their survival does not count on knowing principles and ethics but making arbitrary choices.  Thus the first lives are consumed learning whether you should turn right or left at a certain point.  All you do is learn to navigate the early moments of the game so you can reach the prize later.

So?  Keep in mind that this is not a game to God.  It isn’t enough to be good at finding your way through the maze.  Each of us needs to become seekers of truth not manipulators of the computer. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Chance of Chance

(Pro 18:18 KJV) The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

When I read this chapter my mind tends to filter out this verse.  It seems to strange to me because I was raised to call gambling evil.  This seems like gambling.  Maybe the mistake is thinking of gambling as games of chance.  There is some chance involved but most gambling games have some understanding of statistical odds.  Still there is the chance of chance.

We tend to overlook the element of Providence.  Us moderns with our science, research and poles push God over to the side when He should really be in the center.  What we can take from this is that all of our conniving and loading of the dice will not really change the outcome.  Political organizing and stuffing of ballot boxes will not change the course that God has determined for history. 

So?  God expects us to work.  He demands that we live righteous lives.  He does not depend on us to keep the universe running or write the end of the Book.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Double Blessings

(Pro 17:6 KJV) Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

As I write I am waiting for my “crown” (5850) to wake up and begin to demand my attention.  I have the joy of watching my granddaughter and fixing her breakfast while her pregnant mother gets a few more minutes of sleep.  It is a great time in the day.  It brings this verse home like no amount of study can do.  Following that tiny miracle down the hall as we go to liberate her “kitty” causes funny things to happen in my soul. 

“Grandchildren” (1121) are a blessing.  The KJV says “children’s children”.  When I started looking at the Hebrew it got beyond my tools.  The Hebrew word is ben, which we are familiar with as meaning “son”.  I am guessing that the Hebrew has the word twice to get the idea of a grandchild.  Maybe that is to say that grandchildren are a double blessing.  Maybe that is me looking at my own emotions.

So?  If you don’t have any grandchildren, rejoice.  You are one and you either have been or can be a blessing.  Pass it on.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Snake Oil

(Pro 16:20 KJV) He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

It is wonderful to trust in the Lord.  It should not happen in a vacuum.  The believer “trusts” (982) because he pays attention.  Too many people who don’t understand the faith think that we Christians are blind and ignorant.  They think we refuse to think because we are called to believe.  For some reason they think that faith and thinking are mutually exclusive.  Not so.  There may be times when that is the case but it is not our default. 

As a believer I have no trouble with the revelations of science.  Let me qualify that, with the revelations of good science.  So much of what is sold as science is snake oil motivated by politics and a desire to get the largess of the power brokers.  You don’t need to look far.  It could be the most current theory on whether salt is good or bad.  It could be talking about carbon dioxide as a dangerous gas.  We need to understand that just as we have snake oil in science we have it in theology too.

So?  Yes we are saved by grace through faith.  We are to walk by faith, not by sight.  Those are truths based on being informed and keeping our eyes and mind open. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Gotta Have Heart

(Pro 15:14 KJV) The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

Our thinking is molded by our “mind” (3820).  Perhaps the KJV gets it better with “heart”, which is the most frequent translation of the word in both versions.  This is one of the great truths dealing with our salvation and why it is of grace rather than works.  God works His miracle on our inner man.  Our hearts are cleansed.  Our being is redeemed and our minds are transformed.  It is not something we can bring about by our actions.

I believe in free will so I understand this to mean that
(1Jn 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So?  If we have confessed and been forgiven then our inner man is in a condition to move forward in our understanding of things eternal.  Otherwise they make no sense. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bearing Walls

(Pro 14:1 KJV) Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

For “plucketh” (2040) the NASB has “tears down”.  This is the only place the Hebrew word is translated this way but it brings an interesting possibility in the art of destroying a home.  The word is used for pulling weeds and removing ripe produce one at a time.  It is not wholesale cutting like a combine harvesting wheat.  It is more like the picking of apples or coffee beans.  It is a thoughtful type of destruction.

Some people work very carefully in destroying a home.  It might not even be their goal.  They might think they are building something better but they need to remove that pesky wall.  What they may not realize is that the wall that they find unpleasant or unaesthetic may be a load bearing wall.  When you remove it you invite disaster.

So?  Be really prayerful before you try to redo the people and traditions of your household.  It may be that something or someone is irritating to you because you need revival. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Examination

(Pro 13:10 KJV) Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Evidently Socrates once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living".  That is another way of getting to this verse.  As an introvert I am deep into introspection.  I have a hard time believing that people never stop to examine their motives or pause to consider that they may be the one who is wrong.  In that I am wrong.  Evidently it is quite common.  Solomon says that kind of attitude will lead to nothing but problems. 

I have found that I need to accept the fact that I might be right and the other person might be wrong.  Others need to look at the other side of the mirror.  I am not sure which is harder.

So?  Attitude checks are vital.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Word Games

(Pro 12:6 KJV) The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.

This could be taken as a reminder and a warning.  We are reminded that there are “wicked” (7563) people in the world.  Too many don’t want to admit that or qualify it by claiming they don’t know what they are doing.  Rubbish.  They know exactly what they are doing.  One of the great joys they have is dragging down the “upright” (3477).

They can drag the righteous down by lies and gossip.  Even more effective is the way in which they can lull us into complacency and entice us with temptations. 

So?  Be aware.  Be informed.  Be righteous.  It doesn’t just happen but it can happen.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Break or an Excuse

(Pro 11:17 KJV) The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

How is your self image?  I am not talking about arrogance or conceit.  I mean do you accept the fact that you are a child of God, created in His image and that Jesus died for you.  If you have repented and trusted then that should be a starting point for you.  You may be one of those people who never makes mistakes.  If so then ignore what I am saying but most of us tend to get down on ourselves when we shouldn’t.

Maybe I am speaking just for myself.  Maybe I am the only one, but I have some real insecurities.  It always amazes me when people act like they enjoy having a conversation with me.  One of my self improvement projects involves not always assuming that I am the problem when it is obvious I am not.  I am the problem often enough that I don’t really need to exaggerate my powers.

So?  Walk that fine line between giving yourself a break and giving yourself an excuse.  The Holy Spirit will help you. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Hidden Hate

(Pro 10:18 KJV) He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Different translations take different views of this verse.  Probably the most extreme is the Bible in Basic English which translates it,
(Pro 10:18 BBE) Hate is covered up by the lips of the upright man, but he who lets out evil about another is foolish.
That makes what is literally “lying” (8267) “lips” (8193) into a virtue.  Somehow I don’t think that is the intent of Solomon.

Wesley had an interesting explanation.  He thought this was talking about flattery.  When you think about it, flattery can be a lie.  It can also be the truth, your call.

So?  Hatred is something we have some control over.  Being open about it might spur us to do something about it. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Crazy Talk

(Pro 9:12 KJV) If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

Some people think that talking to yourself is a sign of being crazy.  In this day of exotic telephone devises we have to look more than twice.  This might be a recommendation of the habit.  At least it is a reminder that we should follow our own advice.

I am always amused at preachers and teachers who try to instruct others about marriage when theirs is a mess.  I have often wondered how our pulpits would change if we took the advice of Paul about leaders in the church,
(1Ti 3:4-5 KJV) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
When it comes to giving input on leaders we need to be open and honest.  Unless we are asked it might just be better to keep things to ourselves.

So?  Each of us needs to be responsible for our own house.  If you are single that is extra hard because you don’t have anyone around to point out your flaws. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Target of Wisdom

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

I don’t know if they did it on purpose but the KJV seems to get the depth of this verse better than the NASB.  Where the NASB has “wealth” (3426) the KJV has “substance”.  They are the same in Hebrew.  In Proverbs the most frequent way of translating it in the KJV is “there is”.  The definition has the idea of existence and nothing about wealth.  This tells me that the promise of wisdom is not material as much an a contribution to our inner being, our substance.

There are promises that seem to imply wisdom brings financial success.  That is fine but financial success becomes destructive unless it is managed by an inner strength that comes from wisdom.  That is one of the reasons you can give two people the same opportunities and rewards and one will be a pillar of the community while the other is in all kinds of courts, bankruptcy, divorce, traffic, civil, criminal. 

So?  Seek wisdom and allow it to do its miracle of grace on your inner being.  It will make a difference. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Leaning Foundations

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

Today I am in a figurative mood.  As I read this verse and the preceding and knew that it was working towards an adulterous liaison I went on the tangent of asking myself how often this applies to our intellectual and philosophical lives.  Most would deny being intellectuals and many would say they have no philosophy but on some level we are all guilty.  Those two parts of our personalities determine a lot about our direction.

The young man in the following verses knew right and wrong.  The woman put on the appearance of spiritual discipline.  Both of them were quite willing to overlook what they accepted as proper.  I would venture to guess that when discovered both would look indigent and say, “It wasn’t my fault.  I was lured into this.”  The problem is that God is not fooled and does not play games.

So?  Where we are later today depends on how we start and which way we lean.  Imagine what that will do over a lifetime.  When you are a week into a new year is a good time to think about what brought you to today. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Two Traps

(Pro 6:1 KJV) My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

Credit is a trap.  Contracts can make us slaves.  What I found interesting is not that both are dangerous but that the people offering the loan or deal can be either someone you know or a complete “stranger” (2114a). 

How often to we hit up a family member or close friend for a little bit of a loan and never get around to paying it back?  How often do we sign up for things on line or through the mail?  Recently I was thinking of getting a magazine subscription for my wife but to do so would require me giving out information that I did not want to give.  You may have been one of those who signed up for something like a gym membership and found out how hard it is to stop the deductions from your credit card.

So?  Walk carefully.  It might be bad for the economy if everyone went all cash but it would sure be good for God’s people if they would do it. 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Need to Know

(Pro 5:6 KJV) Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

In comparing the KJV with the NASB I was hit by the meaning of “ movable ” (5128) (unstable NASB).  People mess with us by changing the ground rules.  They do it all the time.  We either don’t notice, think we misunderstood, ignore it or try to correct the issue.  It can be something as silly as the students I have had who continually change how they want their name pronounced.  It can be as serious as a politician doing a 180 after the election.  It can be as everyday as a family member that is messing with your mind.

This is one reason we look to the Bible for our foundations.  It does not change.  Righteousness is defined and does not waver according to the mood of the individual or culture. 

So?  Again we are to be aware.  There is little that can be done with the person who perpetually changes details or memory.  We can be confident in right and wrong.  Of course that assumes that we want to know. 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Educational Secret

(Pro 4:4 KJV) He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

How do we learn?  I don’t mean “retain” (hold fast NASB) (8551) long enough to pass a test.  I am wondering how you learn something so that it does some good.  I have learned and memorized a lot of different types of information and skills over the years and many of them I don’t have a clue to at this point.  There was a popular style of guitar picking, I think it was called the Travis Pick, that I had down pat.  I could do it in my sleep.  Now I can’t even remember the basic rhythm.  I stopped using it and it left me.

Solomon is telling us that if we want to benefit from his wisdom we need to learn it and then apply it and keep applying it.  I know how to remove, wash and replace the sheets on my bed.  I do it all the time.  I can’t remember how I used to get those tight corners required in the army.

So?  God presents us with what we need to know.  It is up to us to apply it.  It is a case of use it or lose it. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

Rx

(Pro 3:8 KJV) It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

When I read this chapter today in the KJV my eyes skimmed over with nothing registering.  Later when I was thinking about places where Proverbs talks about rotten bones and dried up bones I was wondering what the antidote might be.  This verse came up.  The verse refers back to some “it”.  That means reading a few more verses. 

I immediately noticed it is in the context of one of the favorite passages,
(Pro 3:5-6 KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Then verse 7 talks about fearing the Lord.  These are recipes for neutralizing the poisons of life.

So?  When you feel that you are losing it then follow that old formula of trust, acknowledge and fear.  It can bring healing, physical and spiritual. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Forget It

(Pro 2:17 KJV) Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

As I read this today I was reminded that this is one of those verses in Proverbs that is not a free standing statement.  It is an expansion of what has gone before.  If you look back a verse it seems to be talking about people from outside the faith.  The previous verse seems to indicate that these women are pagans who have tried to seduce the believer.  Then you come to this verse.

One of the greatest dangers to believers is those who have once been part of the family of God and conveniently “forgets” (7911) the “covenant” (1285).  It is easy to be deceived.  Some people are masters of it.  How many marriages have you seen where two people were joined together and one of them was playing the part in order to make the sale?  Or you have others where the commitment was genuine but after a few years one decides that they don’t want it any more.

So?  Read the next verse and you find that the outcome for the person who backslides, or if you are a Calvinist was never really saved.  It talks about death and I guarantee that is not symbolic.  Pray for people who are important to you and be as supportive as you can be. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Not Always Simple

(Pro 1:32 KJV) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Who is included in this first group of people?  Who are the “naive” (6612a) of the NASB or the “simple” of the KJV.  In our culture of victims and victimhood we want to look for excuses for people.  Most would acknowledge something called the “age of accountability” and would be open to the possibility that the concept extends to the mentally incompetent.  In this context it would seem to me that this group is not excused because they are not sophisticated thinkers.  It would seem to imply that they are naive by choice.

I would also suggest that if you are capable of understanding the concept of being simple then you are not a part of the group that would be excused for their mental lack.  The beginning of the year is always a good time to think about how serious we are about our lives and our goals. 

So is any other day that the Holy Spirit might be talking to you.