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.

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


(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


(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


(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


(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


(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.