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.

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


(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


(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


(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


(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.