(Pro 31:13 KJV) She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
One of the blessings I had as a child was a father whose work allowed him to take his boys with him. What that meant was we had to work with our “hands” (3709). That experience taught me that I did not want to do concrete work when I grew up. It was what made me decide to go to college. While I intellectually believe that physical labor is honorable and important that does not mean I want to do it.
In spite of that I think too many people go to college. Education is important but I often get realistic enough to ask what that has to do with college. Physical work would teach many people more. We all should experience it.
So? If you are one of those people who does physically demanding work and enjoy it, you are one of the blessed. For the rest of us we need to work with a will when it is demanded of us.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
(Pro 31:13 KJV) She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Friday, October 30, 2020
(Pro 30:18 KJV) There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:
No, Solomon is not confused. He is not having a hard time making up his mind. Is it three or four? Actually it is a literary devise. You also see it in the book of Amos, for example,
(Amo 1:3 KJV) Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:Amos then goes on to use it eight times. Adam Clarke explains that it is a way of emphasizing things, a literary devise. This is an example of how study helps us understand things we question.
So? Keep studying whether it is three or four times.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
(Pro 29:2 KJV) When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Righteousness is not in style, at least not by any Biblical definition. If you pay any attention to the political and social chatter you do find words like “moral” being used but they don’t mean what you think they do. We have a political party that feels it is acceptable to kill a child before it is born and consider it moral to be sensitive to the “choice” of the mother. God would not agree. Sexual fulfillment is viewed as moral if both people are in love and consenting. It doesn’t matter if they are married or the same sex. Morality is defined by how they feel. God would not agree. People are calling for segregation on college campuses and in public facilities. Since they view it as empowering black citizens it is moral. God would not agree.
So? You have an influence. Make sure that it is “righteous” (6662). God would agree.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
(Pro 28:9 KJV) He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
If you don’t listen to God then He will not listen to you. This is not a matter of childishness or trading. It is the simple fact that your prayers will be totally off focus if you don’t have any idea of right or wrong.
How did someone listen to the law? Obviously it would involve doing a little reading yourself. There were fewer literate people in those days so some might be limited to what they could hear from the rabbi in the synagogue. Advice from family members would be key. For us today this would include listening to the Holy Spirit. There are many sources.
So? It is not a good thing to be an “abomination” (8441). Learn to listen.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
(Pro 27:19 KJV) As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
How can you tell what kind of “heart” (3820) someone has? It is often hard in the short term. People are good at presenting themselves in the best light. You have to go with the face shown to you until you know better. I find it interesting when people identify as a person of faith and yet their words make that hard to believe. We have a lot of politicians who claim to be Catholics and yet consistently vote to support abortion. That is a conflict that cannot be resolved. We have the same thing with people who claim to be believers while being involved sexually with someone they have not married. Contractors who claim to serve Jesus and do shoddy work would be another example.
So? We are not to judge but we are to discern. Keep in mind that you cannot rebuke and reprove if you are incapable of making observations of moral behavior.
Monday, October 26, 2020
(Pro 26:19 KJV) So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
A recent clip being shown on the internet involved Joe Biden speaking to the troops and calling them “stupid bastards”. The short clip was supposed to show that Biden had no respect for the troops. The Biden campaign said he was joking. Although I am not a supporter of Biden, after watching the clip I have to agree with his campaign. He was obviously doing a bit of locker language in order to connect with his audience. I don’t think any of the uniformed personnel in the audience thought it was anything but funny.
The ones who should be apologizing are the people who clipped the video. They cut off his next words and the response of the soldiers and marines. I am guessing they laughed and clapped. We need to be careful in the use of humor and how we interpret it. We need to be careful in how we respond. I know that I found that with certain people I try to turn off my sense of humor completely.
So? Laughter is wonderful but not at the cost of integrity and truth.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
(Pro 25:18 KJV) A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
We are in a political season. I recently received a hit piece in the mail attacking the man I am planning on voting for on November 3. I know enough about the man and had read the letter written by his opponent to know that it was based on misrepresentation at best and outright lies at worst. There were two items he was being accused of. In an effort to look like they had done real research they included dates after the accusation. The only problem is that the first accusation was a few months after he took office and the other was over a year before he was sworn in.
As Christians I believe we are to be involved in the political process. We are to do so in a Christian way. That means we must present truth, not lies. It means we must focus on issues rather than making ad hominem attacks. It means we work hard but always to a higher standard.
So? We should be able to have an intelligent discussion without anger and hostility. Look at it as practice for your chances to give a defense of the hope that is in you (I Peter 3:15).
Saturday, October 24, 2020
(Pro 24:13 KJV) My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
The glutton in me loves this verse. The diabetic hates it. Like so many things that you read in the Bible, if you take them in isolation and read nothing else they give the wrong impression. We are to enjoy the good things. We are not to let the good things consume us. It is called moderation and timing. I often complain about how social occasions make it hard for me to control my weight. It is a smoke screen. What puts on the pounds are the extras that I add to the meal and the calories I consume when I get off by myself. No one grabs my hand and forces the food into my mouth.
So? Moderation is a spiritual quality. Moderation is hard. It is a day by day and often minute by minute struggle for me. I hope you are different.
Friday, October 23, 2020
(Pro 23:21 KJV) For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
“Drowsiness” (5124) strikes home on me lately. I always seem ready to fall asleep. The root word of this term has to do with sleep and it literally means sleeping but the figurative implication is being lazy. It is one of those chicken-and-egg questions about which comes first. Are drunks inclined to laziness or are sluggards more open to drinking. The danger being mentioned here is poverty.
This theme is not confined to the Bible. One of the books I read during the virus lockdown was obtained from Project Gutenberg and titled “Thrift”. It was published in the 19th century and one of the points he makes repeatedly is the role of alcohol in keeping the working classes poor. The man who stopped to have a few pints on the way home continued to live in poverty. The man who went straight home and started a savings account often ended up buying cottages to rent out to others.
So? Walking with Jesus reaches into how we spend out money. Pay attention. It will make a difference in the long run.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
(Pro 22:29 KJV) Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
This verse gives me a good reason not to want to be the best. I don’t want to “stand” (3320) before kings. On the few times I have received awards I tend to be irritated. Part of the irritation is based on how meaningless most awards are. Take the Academy Awards. If I read the headlines and comments correctly a movie now needs to meet a long list of affirmative action quotas to even be considered. It would seem to me that this would automatically make the award meaningless as a recognition of film excellence. It should be redefined as an award given to the HR department for meeting the quotas with people who can read a script. I remember the Student of the Month awards we used to give. It started out with each teacher picking one student and ended up with teachers calling up entire classes.
In spite of that God still wants me to give Him my best. I can also live with that. He does not give out false awards.
So? I will take the Daily Gave-It-His-Best award.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
(Pro 21:29 KJV) A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
Where do you want to put your energy? Do you want to spend it researching ways to look good or would you prefer to spending it actually getting better? It seems like a rhetorical question but it is something we should be thinking about. There are a lot of ways I can invest my time. Some are fun. Some are nothing but work. Some are drudgery. Some are rewarding. Should I read the latest best selling novel? Actually I wonder if I should spend any time on current cultural focal points. Have you ever gone to the library and investigated the new books they are investing in? It seems like a competition to waste time.
Have you read any of the classics? Now would be a good time before they are edited to reflect modern morals. How about Christian classics, and I don’t mean Max or Stormy.
So? If you don’t lift weights your don’t get stronger. If you don’t get enough vitamin C you get scurvy. If you don’t read the map you won’t know where your are. The virus lockdown has been potentially a great time to grow.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Pro 20:5 KJV) Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
There is a bit of a promise here. It isn’t just that there is a solution to what faces you but that you can find that solution. The thing we don’t like is that it takes some effort to “draw” (1802a) it out. Sometimes we act like it isn’t obvious when it is. You may have seen the meme poster that has a lady saying, “If he already has a wife, God did not bring him to you.” Other times it might be a bit difficult. That is the bad news. The good news is that we can find the answer.
So? Keep praying, reading, meditating, asking and listening. Give it the time it needs.
Monday, October 19, 2020
(Pro 19:4 KJV) Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
Do you have any long time friends? If you are older you are probably in a position to attract gold diggers. You may be a supervisor or an executive and people will approach you based on what you can give them. It is hard to tell the difference between the sincere and the users. Older people learn to value those who liked them when they were not just a career advancing asset.
If you are younger it is a good time to establish those that will be loyal to you later. It is a time of discernment. In thirty years will you want people to know you hung around with that guy? The other side of that is will people want others to know you were their friend?
So? Be worthy and make careful choices. If you are older don’t assume people laugh at your jokes because they are funny.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
(Pro 18:3 KJV) When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
“Wicked” (7563) people exist. I have pointed that out often because Proverbs points it out often. This is reminding us that their touch is poison. They pollute everything they touch. They drag down the upright, soil the clean and compromise the truth. I think it is second nature to them. It is the reason that organizations tend to move toward godless positions. You see it in politics but you kind of expect it there. You also see it in the church. You would think the church would be vaccinated against evil people in positions of power, but it doesn’t work out that way. People who call themselves “ministers of God” and “Christian” publicly deny the resurrection and the need for regeneration.
Often these people know exactly what they are doing. They know it so well that they are experts and covering it up. An obvious place would be the cults. They use terms like “Son of God” knowing what you mean by it but they mean something totally different. We see it in education with the dumbing down of the books with a plea for meeting people where they are while talking about maintaining high standards. We see it in politics when they corrupt the word “justice.”
So? Keep your mind in gear and know the truth by reading and listening. Understand that even nice people can be serving Satan because they know you can catch more flies with sugar than with salt.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
(Pro 17:14 KJV) The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
Remember the potato chip commercial that said, “I bet you can’t eat just one.” Since there is no time limit it is a good bet. You might eat one and have another six months later and they could say, “See. I told you so.” But I don’t think that is what they were talking about. There are many things in life that we have a hard time resisting. Here the emphasis is on anger and the things that go with it like resentment and revenge.
The principle applies to other areas of life. We all have weaknesses and bad habits. We know that the biggest weakness is that first violation. After that we have a good excuse to keep going.
So? Don’t let down your guard when it comes to your weakness. I make it a habit not to go down the aisle with all the salty snacks. The cookie section is no problem but keep me away from the chips. If that isn’t enough warning then think about how everyone else in your family will indulge if you bring some home.
Friday, October 16, 2020
(Pro 16:29 KJV) A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
I have always thought of the expectation to avoid violence to be for our benefit. I am sure it is but turning the other cheek rather than flaring up is also important in the example it sets for others. If we are the kind of person that flies off the handle frequently it is going to have an effect on the person watching us. We are leading, but in the wrong direction. And think of our children. Here it mentions “neighbor” (7453) and that is certainly important, but what about the people in our own home or at church that are watching us.
So? We are called to be examples. It may effect our eternal destination but we need to be aware that it also will influence others.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
(Pro 15:23 KJV) A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
The “timely” (6256) “word” (1697) of the NASB is probably more accurate than the “word in due season” of the KJV but the latter is more poetic. There is a season for things to be said. Like humor, timing is important in passing on truth. Face it. Most people are not ready or willing to hear anything that goes against their preconceived notions. I would assume that applies to us.
So? Be alert for the right time to share about salvation. Now is a good time to share about the hope we have and our lack of fear concerning the virus going around. If you don’t have a lack of fear maybe it is time for a word to you.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
(Pro 14:10 KJV) The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
Sharing is wonderful. It just isn’t always possible. It might be a problem of timing. We are not always with people we can share with. It might be a problem of need to know. I know that I don’t share every pain or happiness I experience. That may be just me. We are all different. I would also assume that it might be good for us to keep our “bitterness” (4787a) to ourselves. If we are healthy it will fade in time. If it keeps festering it might be time to share it.
I am an introvert. I find that sharing with the Lord is usually enough to get me through a hard time. I find that if I spend time in worship and thanksgiving my view of life changes. For instance think about the current fear over a virus. We can join in the fear. We can panic and worry. We can also use it as an opportunity to share with people why we don’t fear and do it without being judgmental. We can share what I Peter 3:15 calls “the hope that is in us”.
So? Do you want to be one of those people who takes the downers of life and uses them to encourage others or do you want to drag others down with you. You choice will effect your life and those around you.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
(Pro 13:18 KJV) Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
The KJV talks about “instruction” which is an important point but the more accurate translation is the “discipline” (4148) of the NASB. In trying to figure out how this came together I want to something called, the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. In the quotation musar is a derivative of yasar.
“From the usage and parallels in the OT, one must conclude that yasar and musar denote correction which results in education.” TWOT, volume 1, page 387We must be open to learning and growing through that learning. I think part of the point being made is that learning is not always fun, easy or appreciated. The picture I get would be summed up in the words of that old song, School Days, which goes “learned to the tune of a hickory stick.”
So? God may be forced to teach us the hard way if we refuse to learn or listen. Welcome it.
Monday, October 12, 2020
(Pro 12:15 KJV) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
One of the early titles for the church was the “way” (1870). I don’t know if there is any documentation of how this evolved. It may have come from Jesus’ statement,
(Joh 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.It indicated that life had changed. No longer could we do our own thing. No longer could we follow mindlessly after the gurus of our culture. No more could we go forward without thinking. Now we had a path laid out for us, a path outlined by Jesus and reflected in the scriptures.
So? Wisdom is antithetical to foolishness. It chooses what Robert Frost labeled the “one less traveled”.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
(Pro 11:26 KJV) He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
We need to understand that the concept of a fair profit for your work is well grounded in scripture. There are some people who think they should get without paying. There are others who think you should give without thought of reimbursement. There are times when that would be the case but those are the exception not the rule.
The important idea is “fair” profit. If you look back over the verses before this it explains that the righteous person operates a certain way and is rewarded for it. We can’t demand the reward but we are responsible for our motives and priorities.
So? Share when it is appropriate but always be willing to give a fair deal. That includes expecting others to pay for what they get.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
(Pro 10:27 KJV) The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
This is a good day to be reminded of the “fear” (3374) of the Lord. As I write we are looking at violence in the streets and the potential for all kinds of cheating in the coming election. It is very discouraging to be living in interesting times. It is also very easy to lose the foundation that puts things in perspective.
There are so many things that I can do nothing about. There are some things I can do. In all of them I need to remember whom I fear. I do not fear political chaos. I do not fear the forces of evil all around us. I remember that the liberty I know is a blip in history. I grab hold of my foundation, my fear of Almighty God. With a firm grip on that I face the day and get on with life.
So? Does that mean I hide and hope? No it means I live an upright life and walk in righteousness. It means I influence the world I touch and trust in the promises of God. Forward.
Friday, October 9, 2020
(Pro 9:3 KJV) She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
Good news, the buffet is still open. It will be open when you get there. More good news, there will be plenty of seating. Too often we ignore what is available. I imagine you have had the experience of seeing someone panhandling in front of a fast food joint and on the door is a big sign saying, “Help wanted.” God’s wisdom is like that. Unfortunately we are too often like the beggar.
Humans are funny creatures. I am always amazed when people with a closet full of clothes say they have nothing to wear. Or how about the person who has shelves of food who believes they need to go out to eat. In the same way, God offers a wisdom buffet.
So? Wisdom is something you can’t force on someone. Don’t be that someone. Partake.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
(Pro 8:31 KJV) Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Why did God create the universe? Even more specific, why did God create man? I have heard a lot of different ideas. Here it implies that God enjoys us. Yes, I know it is Wisdom speaking but the implication is there.
Does God enjoy our rebellion and sin? Obviously not but keep in mind there are still those who repent and walk in righteousness and seek out His fellowship. That is what worship involves. I think it is the primary purpose of prayer. God rejoices when we commune with Him.
So? Make God’s day. If you look around and see nothing but sin and selfishness then it is up to you to provide that glimmer that may keep Him from turning the earth into a cinder. He promised not to flood us again. I don’t think that applies to lightning or asteroids.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
(Pro 7:14 KJV) I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
As I read some of the commentaries on this passage I see repeated reference to the largess after the sacrifice is made. Often there is a lot of prime beef left over for the use of the Levites and the one making the offering. The insinuation is that this woman had made her ritual sacrifice knowing that she would be ready to meet this young man and offer him a feast. It would seem that her motives might not have been pure.
As we follow the story it becomes clear that her motives were carnal. She is hoping to take what she kept after the ritual to prepare a meal for seduction of the fool. You will notice that he walks into it and the outcome is tragic.
So? Good deals and fun activities are not always the way to go not matter how much they seem to offer. If the person giving the party has evil in their heart you are in for a potentially destructive evening.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
(Pro 6:1 KJV) My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Today I began reading toward the end of the chapter and looped around to verse one. What struck me was how Solomon was going down a list of behaviors that can ruin your life. I started reading about adultery and then looped back to misuse of credit. There are so many things that we can do that seem gratifying at the moment. We can talk ourselves into them. We can know that they are not usually a good idea but manage to convince ourselves that we are smarter than the average bear and we are different.
It doesn’t work that way. We may be smarter but that does not mean we are smart enough. I remember a three year old that would come into Sunday School, run across the room, yell, “Spiderman” and throw himself against the wall. He did this week after week. I noticed right away that week after week he fell off the wall. I don’t remember how long it took for him to realize it wasn’t going to work for him.
So? Common sense requires a knowledge of life and eternity. We have the resources. We have been warned. Application is necessary for best results. Actually it is necessary for any results.
Monday, October 5, 2020
(Pro 5:4 KJV) But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
The concern here is about the “end” (319), about both endings. It is about what eventually happens to the person with the smooth lies. It is also about the person who listens to the smooth lies, the smooth listener. Someone has to listen. Your senile grandfather may have mumbled to himself a lot. You may know someone who talks all the time even when no one is listening. That is not a threat. What is destructive is the sweet talk that gets listened to.
You know about things that sound too good to be true. When you are hearing what works for you it might be a warning about what you are hearing.
So? What we listen to works its way into our inner thinking. Just as you would avoid walking on icy steps you should also avoid slick talkers.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
(Pro 4:13 KJV) Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
Recently I went to get physical therapy for the first time. It was an interesting experience. I was given a series of exercises. They did some pushing and pulling. After a few sessions I was sent on my way with discharge instructions that said, “Maintain the Home Exercise Program...” Right. I walk out the door with the best of intentions but also with an awareness of how my mind works. I am not sure that the bending and stretching will make it all well again. One thing I do know is that if I don’t do them they won’t help.
We all know more than we do. People want Bible studies and small groups. They want to take classes and train. The simple truth is that we already know enough. If we would simply do what we know we are supposed to do we would be better off.
So? It isn’t the therapist’s fault if I don’t get better. It isn’t the pastor’s fault if I don’t grow spiritually. It would be great if we would all grow up.
Saturday, October 3, 2020
(Pro 3:11 KJV) My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
I don’t like being corrected. Sure, I act like I can be mature about it. Sometimes I even kid myself, but the first thought that crosses my mind when someone tries to set me straight it, “Oh, yeah?” I may be calm on the outside but I am less than gracious on the inside. What makes it even harder is that the person doing the correcting knows me best.
To be honest it is often hard to find someone who will care enough about us to risk our anger. That means that we need to be seeking correction. There are two ready sources. First, the written word stands ready to fill in the gaps of our thinking. Of course that means we must read it. Second, the Holy Spirit will bring things to mind and convict. That is more effective if we are listening.
So? Realize the value and be open. That is easy to say and hard to do. I speak from experience.
Friday, October 2, 2020
I assume you know that there is a hierarchy of value in precious metals. Today the bottom would be copper. It is what pennies used to be made of. Then you have silver in the middle and gold at the top. Those are the common metals. I would imagine that there are metals below copper and I know there are some above gold. Most of us could own a gold coin if we really wanted to, if it was important enough to us. In the days of Solomon, gold was out of the reach of most common people. You would consider yourself rich is you had some “silver” (3701).
Keep that in mind as you look at this verse. The context is the search for wisdom. It is within reach but will take some commitment to get there. If it was dumped in your lap it might be so tarnished you would not recognize it. I know one time I ended up with some dimes a kid was using to buy things from his friend. I recognized that they were old silver coins. He had no idea what the value was.
So? Seek wisdom and find wisdom. It is available if you value it enough.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
(Pro 1:29 KJV) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
There is “knowledge” (1847) and then there is knowledge. Some is accepted by almost everyone. We know that water is wet. We accept that if something falls from a tall building it will be destroyed. There is other knowledge that many people reject. Marriage is between one man and one woman. All have sinned. This is what the context tells us these people are having a hard time with.
The thing that makes it impossible to ignore things we don’t like is that we have more “fear” (3374) of God than we do of our peers. I don’t care if you have little knowledge of how electricity runs your refrigerator. You will carefully plug it in making sure that your hands are not wet and you are not standing in a puddle.
So? People who trust in God are much more able to deal with reality than those who live in denial.