(Pro 30:17 KJV) The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
Parents. Are yours still alive? Are you one? They are special in the eyes of God. You may notice in the KJV that the word “his” is in italics. That means it is not in the Hebrew. The NASB deals with this by saying “a father”. Why might that be important? It carries the connotation that this warning applies to people who are not biological decedents. My mind goes to the way in which educators are putting down parents. I think of a social welfare system that has marginalized fathers. I think of the many children’s books that have made children look wiser than their parents.
So? If you have youngsters in your home it might be a good idea to look at the influences that are being reinforced in what you have around the house. The devil can be overt or he can be subtle. You can be alert.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
(Pro 30:17 KJV) The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
(Pro 29:1 KJV) He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
The reminder is, “Hang in there.” How often have you seen someone, maybe yourself, who has gone the extra mile, put in the effort, paid the price, only to quit just before victory is achieved? It is a sad situation. It is such a temptation to focus on what is right in front of us instead of the big picture. We joke and say we can be encouraged even when society seems to be falling apart because we have read the book and know how it ends. It is not a joke. Why do young parents continue to discipline children who say, “I hate you”? Because they know how it will end if they do not hang in there and they know how it can end if they are faithful.
So? Hang in there. Remember they had to walk around Jericho seven days for the walls to come down. Assume you are on day six.
Monday, September 28, 2020
(Pro 28:8 KJV) He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
One of the building blocks of our modern prosperity and consumer culture is the existence of easy credit. I recently talked to a college student who was getting his first credit card. I think he is alert enough to use it wisely and control his spending. I can’t say that for most people. Our system is based on people buying a lot of things. That in turn creates a lot of demand for goods which makes for more jobs. In one sense it is a cycle that raises everyone’s ability to support their families and live a secure life.
In another sense it drives people to overspend and buy what they can’t really afford because they can make it to the next paycheck. One summer my children kept demanding to eat so I took a third job selling encyclopedias door to door. The only reason I did it was because they guaranteed a certain minimum if I would make a specified number of calls. One thing I remember being told was to not talk about the total cost of the product but to emphasize how low the monthly payment would be and how a few dollars a month would help their children.
So? Debt is evil. Maybe we would be better off if we had mothers home without the second car and the constant eating out.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
(Pro 27:18 KJV) Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
This stand alone verse seems to be saying you get what you pay for or in Biblical Terms, you will reap what you sow. How do you treat people around you? How do you do your job and fulfill your responsibilities? It makes a difference in what life gives back. Often, because we believe we are saved by grace, we have the idea that our failures and lack of effort will be overlooked and we will get a free pass. That is a totally different issue from the reality that we cannot pay off our sins by our efforts.
So? Serve. Work hard. Do your part. It makes a difference.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
(Pro 26:18 KJV) As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
This verse is in a chapter that gives a list of deviant, evil character traits. As I write the news is full of the riots and mayhem going on in certain major cities of America. What is fascinating and frustrating is watching the news media and a lot of public figures act like this is some kind of Constitutionally protected peaceful protest. Substitute “gunfire” for “arrows” (2671) and you have a description of what the camera shows you.
There are people claiming to be Christians who are making excuses for this kind of behavior. There is no excuse for the excuses. Obviously these people are rejecting the God of the Bible for the gods of political correctness.
So? It is good to be concerned about justice as long as you realize that justice is based on the holy standards of God, not the politically motivated and constantly changing standards of the politicians. Do it God’s way. Stand up for God’s standards.
Friday, September 25, 2020
(Pro 25:17 KJV) Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
As I write we are in the panic about the Chinese Virus. There are a lot of levels of shut down going on. Even where I live, you can go out but are expected to wear a mask. It really cuts down on the amount of socializing you can do.
Some people are bothered by this. Many, like myself, don’t really mind staying at home. It is what we do best. I am reminded of a meme addressed to introverted geeks, “Call you friends and see if they are all right.” The other side of that is if your friends are introverts, don’t worry about them they are just fine.
So? Don’t assume everyone wants to see you or hear what you have to say.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
(Pro 24:12 KJV) If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
We need to deal with this phrase, “according to his work (6467).” I have a problem dealing with the phrase because the only Hebrew word I can find listed is “work”. Since I am not by any stretch of the imagination a Hebrew scholar I can’t reference the original Hebrew. I can only use the tools I have. I tried to find out where the “according to” came from. There is nothing in my software. I went to the exhaustive concordance I have in print form and it said there was no Hebrew word. So where do they get this translation?
I went further. In your English Bibles the word “not” is used four times. The first two times are in the Hebrew, the second two are not. When you get down to just what you find in the Hebrew it comes out “and he that keepeth they soul knows and renders man works.”
We must also filter this through the New Testament which talks about being saved by grace through faith. I am thinking that it is telling us one way God decides that our faith is genuine is by the way we respond to His grace.
So? Any way you look at it we are called to live upright, righteous lives. It is impossible without His grace and I don’t think can happen without our cooperation.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
(Pro 23:20 KJV) Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
At heart this is a call to moderation but keep in mind that some things are better avoided. Since I have more trouble with food, let me talk about gluttony and moderation in eating. With all the references to feasting and the good foods of life we need to understand we are not called to eat nothing but unsweetened oatmeal and brown rice. We are to eat and enjoy. At the same time we are not to be gluttons.
With alcohol you can do a total abstinence routine and suffer no complications. While Timothy was told to take some wine for his “infirmities”,
(1Ti 5:23 KJV) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.an honest person will admit that our water is clean and we have lots of medications available. Food is not so simple. We must eat and because of that we are to enjoy what we consume. I find that some foods I cannot be moderate on. If I go to a pizza buffet they will need to haul me out on a dolly. I love pizza but it doesn’t have an “enough” switch. On the other hand, I used to have a restaurant that had a vegetable soup that satisfied me. For me the sin would be going to the pizza place. It would make it impossible to control.
So? Pick your poison and pick your antidote. God have us minds and the free will to make decisions. Use them wisely.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
(Pro 22:28 KJV) Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Who are today’s “fathers” (1)? I don’t think this is the literal man that sat across the breakfast table from you. I think this is more a generic concept. It is the idea in the hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers” and the term “Founding Fathers.” It is a reminder that some things have stood the test of time and that endurance says something about what works.
What would be some of those fence posts set up by previous generations? Start with the Ten Commandments. When people talk about the Law and how we are beyond the Law I think of this passage in Scripture. We need to understand that if you had read them to Adam he would have just nodded and said, “Yes. Those are obvious, expect what’s this resting from work thing?” If you had read them to Abraham he would have said, “Yes, obvious”. There are some sign posts that are eternal.
So? Live in the liberty of knowing where the pot holes of life are located. (Posted, September 22, 2020, PP)
Monday, September 21, 2020
(Pro 21:28 KJV) A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
I keep hearing it but I have a hard time accepting it. “The truth will out.” Really? When? Will I live to see it? We live in an age when the elite classes are rewriting history and theology to say what they want it to say instead of what it says. We often see this in modern translations that don’t even blush when they change “son” to “child”, “man” to “person” or “God the Father” to who knows what. We see it in our culture as they redefine marriage and the definition of evil. We live in a day of deception.
This word tells us not to despair. It does not deny the presence of evil or its persistence. It does remind us that “The truth will out.”
So? Trust and have hope. Remember that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. It doesn’t depend on us.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
(Pro 20:4 KJV) The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
This is a simple lesson of cause and effect. That is a lesson that is not being taught. It is a lesson that is not being learned by experience. We live in a cultural milieu which seems to teach that everyone deserves everything regardless of the contribution you make. That is just one more example of how the standards of the Bible differ from the our surroundings. The Bible expresses it several ways,
(Gal 6:7 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(2Th 3:10 KJV) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.This is not a matter of ignoring the poor or the lame. The Bible also recognizes the difference between the worthy poor and the unworthy.
So? Yes, we are saved by grace. At the same time you can’t get away from the repeated demands that we live upright lives. Harvest season is coming.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
(Pro 19:3 KJV) The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
I imagine that rage can take many forms. Some people can seethe with a smile on their face. Some can pat you on the back and wish they had a knife in their hand. How often do we say, “No, that’s okay,” when we really want to scream? It is interesting that one of the definitions of this word has the idea of a sad face.
Is our anger at the Lord ever justified? I don’t think so. It might be understandable when we are going through a rocky time. It might be forgivable when it comes on us suddenly. In the long view, it is out of place. Here the causes of the problem are lack of integrity, perversion and ignorance. And because we are caught or exposed we get angry.
So? God is patient. I would say that it is rare that He strikes out at first offenses or even after many disappointments. And the door is usually open for us when we come to our senses. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Friday, September 18, 2020
(Pro 18:2 KJV) A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
My first thought as I read this today was, “I resemble that remark.” So often I assume I am the one that has the worthy thoughts to share. To be honest, there are times when that is true. To be honest, it isn’t as often as I think. Repeatedly Proverbs tells us to slow down, stop talking, listen, think, consider and reach and “understanding” (8394) of what is being said. I hope I am not the only one who later realizes that I sounded like a “fool” (3684).
So? Sometimes the only way we learn is by being embarrassed. Pray that God would give us insight, even if it makes us feel stupid.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
(Pro 17:13 KJV) Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
This verse takes the Golden Rule and gives a different spin. This is a curse on people who are so lost to the dark side that they delight in slapping down what is good. You run into this at times when you try to help someone and they turn on you. You see it in the political world. It can happen in families. God sees and promises that they will be paid off.
So? Our job is to be righteous not to be the sheriff.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Disruptive people are not always obvious. Often they have a lot of practice in causing trouble without being noticed. In the recent riots it is not the organizers that are in the front lines. The whole purpose is to let someone else do the disrupting and if there is any penalty they will also pay. This might be one of the reasons we are told to be calm and forgiving. There is often something going on that is being kept from us.
So? We need to also be careful that we are not the ones being manipulated. One antidote is to make sure that our decisions are based on God’s word not someone’s opinion.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
The meaning of “counselor” (3289) has certainly changed. Although we still hear it in movies referring to a lawyer, it has come more to mean a psychologist or psychiatrist today. If you think of the common cartoon of a patient laying on a couch and talking while the “counselor” takes notes. The Biblical idea is of people who pool their experience and wisdom to fill in the gaps in what you know. Unlike the cartoon, you are the one doing the listening.
So? Learn to listen and discern good advice. We are surrounded by people who have been down the road before us.
Monday, September 14, 2020
The second part of this verse does not seem to follow. Are the “upright” (3477) having “good will” (7522) toward “sin” (817)? That can’t be right. As I look at the use of the Hebrew it seems to me that it is a difference in what you approve. Evil people make fun of sin because they approve of it. The contrast is that the righteous approve of things that are acceptable.
When I am trying to decide if a person deserves my vote or support, I listen to the opinions they express about subjects that have become accepted by our society but are still on God’s sin list. It is considered main stream to accept all the groups under the homosexual banner. The feeling is that we don’t want to be condemned for not being tolerant. When I read a book it becomes clear early on that I might not finish it. We need to feel free to evaluate people based on what they support and how they feel about sin.
So? This applies double in church leadership and in accepting people as being brothers and sisters in the Lord. It isn’t comfortable but it is right.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Note that the verb in the second part of the verse, “is” for KJV and “brings” in the NASB are assumed. Notice they are printed in italics which means they are not in the Hebrew. Substitute a comma and see how that works for you,
(Pro 13:17 KJV) A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador, health.Now notice the first verb, “falls” (5307), which is a very common word in the Old Testament. In Proverbs is seems to have a negative connotation. That may be why it is left out of the second part. Either way this points to a natural result of our intent and discipline.
So? One message of the Bible is that God honors those who seek to be righteous. Good deeds won’t earn us salvation but will help to get God to smile in our direction.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
What you do makes a difference. Why you do it makes a difference. Here we have mention of both speaking and working with your hands. It is assumed that the things being said and done are positive and moral. There is value in just doing the right thing.
We sometimes want to change the world. We want to write the classic novel or record a song that endures forever. I am at the point where I am feeling blessed if I can get through the day without breaking a dish or stubbing my toe.
So? Today’s grace is enough for today’s challenges. Maybe you will get famous tomorrow but for now be satisfied that you got all the square pegs in square holes.
Friday, September 11, 2020
This verse is one reason why moderns like new translations. The KJV talks about being “fat” (1878) like it is a good thing and we know that fat is bad. Not really. God made fat to do a number of beneficial things for our bodies. The problem isn’t the fat, it is the overeating and sedentary life style that allow it to build up beyond proper levels. I am not sure what a modern picture might be, perhaps we could say that the reward for generosity is a BMI of 20.
The point is that we are to be generous. God does not bless us in order to make us feel like the little boy who stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb. He blesses us so we can bless.
So? Most of us have something we can share with someone in need. It might be financial, it might be emotional, it might be spiritual. Be a blesser.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
If you didn’t notice, it is the people who trust the “sluggard” (6102) that pay the price for his sloth. I am hoping that these people sent him in error. Maybe they did not know he was this way. If they did then why would they be surprised.
We have a tendency to think we are immune to stupidity. Have you ever been camping and sitting around the campfire? The smoke is kind of romantic until the wind shifts and it gets in your eyes. It can be a real awakener. I am not a wine drinker but I understand that wine can turn into vinegar. That must be an eye opener.
So? What you do is avoid smoke and don’t drink vinegar. I guess the same must go for some kind of people.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
My wife gets frustrated when she has me “set” (6185a) (KVJ furnished) the “table” (7979). With all due respect, I can’t get too excited about whether the knife faces in or out. I can see the importance of getting all the utensils at each place setting but what difference does it make if the fork is on the left or the right? I would only worry about it if I was having someone over who cared. The problem with that is you can’t be sure who that is.
How do we structure our daily lives? What difference does it make if we wear shorts or long pants? Do we really need socks? There are many questions we could ask and the answer to most of them would be one we hate, “It depends.”
So? Take the high road. Look to present your best. Avoid the shortcuts. You know all the advice. The problem is applying it on a regular basis.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
This reminds me of the gift of craftsmanship. I believe this is a spiritual gift mentioned in the Old Testament.
(Exo 31:3 KJV) And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,Some people just have the gift. I don’t. I can’t cut a board straight. At the same time we each have a gift for edifying the saints. We are to strive to be a “master workman” (525). In the KJV the term used is “one brought up”.
So? Obviously we are not equal to wisdom personified but we are children of God, made in His likeness and usually capable of much more than we are showing.
Monday, September 7, 2020
I am not a hugger. I’m not and I feel no guilt for that. I can hug if I run into a hugger but I keep it as short as possible. I make exceptions for family members. Hugs were part of our morning routine when I had morning duty with the toddler. Sometimes that game was for me to chase her until she was willing to give up. Great times. But I am not a hugger.
I am not a hugger because of what this verse is illustrating. Just as few people get addicted to marijuana without smoking a cigarette, no one becomes an alcoholic without taking a drink and you don’t get fat by not eating, few people get caught up in sexual sin without some “innocent” contact.
So? Be a prude. There is nothing to lose by doing so and an eternity to lose if you get caught us in sexual sin.
Sunday, September 6, 2020
This might be a good verse to review at the beginning of most modern entertainment. Lack of sexual boundaries is a common denominator in the secular media. There seems to be no such thing as sexually transmitted disease, destroyed children and emotional trauma as a result of the so called “sexual freedom.” They can criticize the prudes of the past all they want but they had lives filled with much more joy. This verse reminds us that some sins cause greater calamities than others. Contrary to those who talk about any tiny sin being enough to qualify us for hell, God has always regarded some as more evil than others. If you don’t believe that then go compare the sacrifices and offerings necessary for different types of sin.
So? Christians avoid sin. When they fail they repent and get on with life. We need to keep on the alert because the forgiveness of our fellow man may not come as readily as the forgiveness of God.
Saturday, September 5, 2020
What do you associate “oil” (8081) with? The first thing I think of is motor oil. Moderns tend to get this because we think of oil as a slippery substance that makes things move easier. I can’t think of too many places in ancient Israel where they would think that way. They might have used it on door hinges but most people were not rich enough to have metal door hinges. They used oil to burn in lamps and to rub on their skin like a lotion. In spite of that, they knew it was slippery.
We have a lot of things in our world that work this way. If I have a sticky lock or a squeaky door I use graphite. It that doesn’t work I use WD-40. If that doesn’t work I get ear plugs. In any case we are being warned about people and situations that make it too easy to slip. Or to compromise. Or simply to ignore.
So? Stay alert. Avoid things that are dangerous. It is called wisdom not cowardice.
Friday, September 4, 2020
Part of wisdom is knowing the location of the stationary obstacles. When I get up in the middle of the night to answer a call of nature, I don’t need to turn on any lights. I know what is between me and the bathroom. I can also walk through the house in the dark, usually with no problems. I know where the dangers are. Wisdom can give us that about life.
Part of wisdom is knowing about the moving obstacles. We have two cats in the house. One of them seems to think its role in life is to stop right in front of me and often roll over and dare me to go farther. I need to keep that in mind as I walk. It doesn’t matter how bright the light is, the cats move, or not. We also have issues with scorpions and centipedes. That means bright lights and vigilance or wear shoes.
So? God has given us the directions we need and the ability we need to walk in righteousness. Now to use them.
Thursday, September 3, 2020
By “coincidence” I was reading in Luke today about the rich man who was having some great harvests. He had more than he could cope with. It sounds like the man in this verse. Here it is given as a blessing. In Luke it becomes a curse. The difference is not in the success or material goods but in how you view them in life. It is in the principles involved. If you look back one verse you find that the full barns are God responding to the farmer’s faithfulness.
In Luke the response to prosperity is selfish,
(Luk 12:18 KJV) And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.He is impressed with his skills and management.
So? How do we respond when God blesses us? Knowing how we would respond might mean that some of us don’t have certain blessings. Rejoice in the ones you have.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Is this a two step process or a call to perseverance? My first response is on process but as I look a little deeper at the words I am leaning toward perseverance. In both parts of the verse there is a call for us to actively seek results. There is a burden on us to discern wisdom.
One of the paradoxes we find in scripture is the juxtaposition of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. If we don’t have the second then our response seems kind of empty to me. If we don’t have the first then there is nothing worth responding to. God has put us on the tight rope. He has also given us one of those long poles that make it possible to balance. He then shoves us off and says, “Walk.”
So? Ask, seek, knock, find. It is one of those promises that makes grace a living proposition instead of a miracle pill.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
I would hate to play hide and seek with God, even if He was confined to my yard. It reminds me of playing the game with my son when he was young. I would find an awesome hiding place and he would almost be at the point of tears when he could not find me. At that point I would make a noise and keep making it until he “discovered” me.
Usually that is the way God plays the game. We are incapable of finding Him so He makes noises to get our attention. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to hear, bringing us understanding as we read, putting us in the right place at the right time.
All that is good. What is frightening here is that there comes a time when God concedes that we are only playing games and leaves us searching in the room while He goes about His business.
So? Pray for those you know who are playing games. God may be infinite but His patience is not always.