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, September 22, 2020

Signs for the Times

(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

The Truth Will Out

(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

Plow or Beg

(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

Understandable, not Justified

(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

Delight in Embarrassment

(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

Reversal

 (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

Behind the Scenes

(Pro 16:28 KJV) A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

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

Get off the Couch

(Pro 15:22 KJV) Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

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

Warning Flags

(Pro 14:9 KJV) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

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

A Good Fall

(Pro 13:17 KJV) A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

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

Peg It

(Pro 12:14 KJV) A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.

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

Fat Blessings

(Pro 11:25 KJV) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

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

Avoidance

(Pro 10:26 KJV) As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

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

Set Up

(Pro 9:2 KJV) She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

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

Potential

(Pro 8:30 KJV) Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

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

Not So Innocent

(Pro 7:13 KJV) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,

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

Consequences

(Pro 6:35 KJV) He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

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

Wise or Cowardly?

(Pro 5:3 KJV) For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

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

Watch Your Step

(Pro 4:12 KJV) When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

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

Barns of Plenty

(Pro 3:10 KJV) So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

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

Follow Through

(Pro 2:3 KJV) Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

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

A Noise in the Dark

(Pro 1:28 KJV) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:

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.