(Pro 30:26 KJV) The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
Have you ever been in a position where you are desperate for an illustration of something? You find yourself trying to explain something to a child and you say, “It is just like...” and your mind goes blank because you can’t think what it is like. Perhaps you are trying to explain what made you run inside after dark. Maybe you are a preacher looking for an application or with a point you want to make.
So the statement would be, “Wise like an animal that sleeps on the rocks.” I am not sure what that means. Maybe it speaks to you today when it has never even crossed your consciousness before. Let me stretch. Everything in your life can be put to good use. It may be rocks. Rocks make good insulation. Rocks deflect gunfire. Rocks last a long time.
So? What are the rocks of your life? What have you been overlooking that can be used in a helpful way. I am guessing it will be different for everyone. Think of how the Japanese made eating raw fish a positive experience. Consider the people that tell you popcorn is good without salt. To each his own.
Friday, April 30, 2021
(Pro 30:26 KJV) The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
Thursday, April 29, 2021
(Pro 29:7 KJV) The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
We have a lot of people claiming to be concerned about the poor in our country and in the world as a whole. We see it everywhere. Since we are in tax season we might consider the graduated income tax as an indication of that concern. In reality, most of the big talkers don’t give a fig for poor people. Many just want the publicity. That is why I am totally unimpressed by celebrities who show up at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving to dish out turkey and stuffing. Where were they when the shelter ran out of bread in August?
Then you have the ones who are truly evil, the “wicked” (7563) of our verse. They don’t have a clue because they don’t want to know. They have access and authority but can’t admit what does not serve their purpose.
So? God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and the written word to give us the basic information for making judgments and decisions. We ignore either to our peril.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Keep Your Head Down
(Pro 28:15 KJV) As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
Political leaders come in many flavors. They run the entire scale using any measures you want. You can measure them on competence, intelligence, morality or food preference. Almost all of the measures will effect us some ways. Even food. Remember how President Bush said unkind things about broccoli? He made life difficult for many parents and vindicated others.
The issue here is the “wicked” (7563) “ruler” (4910). Lay aside your protest that we don’t have rulers and look at the idea of wicked. Some people in authority are evil. There is no question about that basic fact. They may be mildly evil. They may be constrained in their evil. The evil is still there. One of the basic ways for the powerless to deal with evil tyrants is to stay out of their way. I am not an authority on lions or bears but I think if you hear them roar or see them charging it is a little late to do much.
So? Unless it is required to take a stand, keep your head down. We live in difficult times for us but we are still in good shape historically. How it works out is a theological issue.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
(Pro 27:25 KJV) The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
As I read this today Ecclesiastes came to mind. More specifically the song by the Byrds based on Ecclesiastes came to mind. Get it going in your head, “For every thing, turn, turn, turn...” In this verse you have the transition of hay making and gathering the new herbs that are growing. Us city folks might talk about buying our winter coats during the spring sales while we are being forced to mow out lawns again.
Life goes on. The Bible deals in linear history, not the circle of life found in Buddhism and The Lion King. At the same time the Bible concedes that the seasons run in a continuous cycle. It is more like a wheel of a car that is designed to get somewhere rather than a Ferris Wheel that gives you a few spins and dumps you.
So? Let spring remind you of the potentials of Providence and the blessings waiting to happen.
Monday, April 26, 2021
(Pro 26:25 KJV) When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
In our area we are looking at the election of local officials. We have city counsels and school boards up for grabs. I am relatively sure that the people who pay the money to put up posters are serious about being elected. I am relatively sure that they are working hard to say the right things and convince people they should be chosen. I would guess that there are a lot of similarities in the claims of the candidates while they may have totally opposed views in reality.
This is a warning. In some times past you had little to go on besides the current statements and any intuition you might have. Today we have access to the internet which at least gives us a chance to look into the stands taken in the past.
This is a warning. We should be engaging our minds and memories about people. Politicians we may have never heard from before, but in the church and communities we have people we know and should have had experience with.
So? Never take the current sound bites as being authentic. Depending on where you hear them and who is speaking, you might find certain sources helpful by assuming they are speaking the opposite of truth. If you don’t have any discernment then find someone who does and listen to them even if it makes you uncomfortable.
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Rubies or Corners
(Pro 25:24 KJV) It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
Proverbs does not speak about wives as if they were a monolithic presence. You have both extremes. In Proverbs 31 you have the description of the wife that is above rubies. Here you have the wife that drives you to a corner of your own roof. Picture how hard that would be with our modern roof-lines. In between you have Sarah nagging Abraham.
One of the disciplines in understanding scripture and applying it, is to use it as intended with your situation. If you have the wife of Proverbs 31, rejoice. If you have the wife of Proverbs 25, hide. Don’t expect every situation in life to be perfect. Another thought might be that we should spend more time appreciating what we have.
So? Rejoice in all the blessings of life. Endure the sand in your shoe if you can’t remove it. God give us grace for both.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Jesus on the Slopes
(Pro 24:13 KJV) My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
Would Jesus have gone skiing if He had first come in the 21st century? Would He have eaten sushi? How about attending a baseball game? In the days of the Roman Empire the pleasures available to the masses were very few. The vast majority of the human race worked themselves into the ground with few breaks. Honey was within their reach. It was allowed. We have much more leisure and many more choices. How much should be use them?
I am not sure that Jesus would have gone skiing, not because skiing is wrong, but because there were so many other things that were more important. He did take time out to go to dinner with the sinners so maybe He would have found time for sushi.
So? Don’t be afraid to enjoy the good things of life but don’t let them dominate your schedule. You were born to glorify God not own season tickets.
Friday, April 23, 2021
The Edge of the Road
(Pro 23:27 KJV) For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
Keep in mind that there are many pits out there waiting for the unwary. The “harlot” (2181) is just to make it spicy. Most pits we fall into are plain vanilla. I am not sure about the calorie content but I think you can get just as fat on vanilla ice cream as on chocolate chip. Satan is subtle, patient and persistent. He will watch us as long as it takes to find our pit.
One solution is to stay on the sidewalk. Years ago when I was out walking on vacation I found myself stumbling a lot. I kept trying to walk next to the edge of the road and my foot would come down half way off. On the city streets it is not recommended that you walk in the middle of the road but on the way of life it is a good idea.
So? Again it requires us to pay attention, do some reading and keep our brain engaged. God has promised to provide a way of escape from temptation. He has not guaranteed that we will choose to take it.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
(Pro 22:22 KJV) Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
I find it interesting the qualification added in this verse, “because he is poor”. Does it mean that it is okay to rob a poor man who is not poor? Does it mean you can rob a rich man? Somehow neither feels right. I think it is more a warning to not take advantage of people.
We do this in many ways. I am ashamed to remember the way in which I joined in a group effort to take advantage of one girl in our group who was far from the sharpest tack in the package. She took it in good form outwardly but later I wondered how much pain she was internalizing. I can only hope she was too dumb to understand what we were doing.
So? We are to treat people as fellow-heirs to the kingdom. We are to fill in the pot holes in their life, not dig them deeper. I am sure we can find some application in each of our lives and days.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
(Pro 21:4 KJV) An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
I asked it three years ago. I ask it again. Is it “plough” (KJV) or “lamp” (NASB)? Let me give you a similar problem in English. If I say, “Can it”, what do I mean? Do I mean “stop complaining and get to work”? Do I mean preserving vegetables for winter? Am I asking a question? You only know from context and voice inflection. We have the same issue here.
So what is the point? Both of the words are telling us that certain actions reflect a certain attitude and the result is sin. The actions expose the heart. You can do it by lighting a lamp or you can turn over the ground to see what is underneath.
So? God knows you heart. He knows the heart of your neighbor. Sometimes all we have to go on is paying attention to how people live. They rely on that when they look at us. Live upright and righteous. Reflect well on your Savior.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
A Fine Compliment
(Pro 20:11 KJV) Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Have you ever heard, “He is a fine young man”? Has it ever been said about you? No? I hope it was because you were a young woman. It isn’t always true. Sometimes it is assumed because the person knows our parents. Sometimes it is an empty statement to ingratiate. At times it is true.
It is true when the person speaking knows you well enough to have observed you in action. He knows your values and priorities. He has watched you under pressure. He has seen the grace of God working in your life.
So? We may not be young any more but the reality is we will always be judged by our actions. I trust we will not be found wanting.
Monday, April 19, 2021
(Pro 19:10 KJV) Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
This verse brings to mind another mantra that our culture is pushing which might be contrary to scripture. That is the mantra of equity and equality. We tend to forget that the concept of being equal before the law, which is Biblical, has nothing to do with making everyone equal. When you hear that it means making everyone the same and that ain’t gonna happen.
People are different. The Bible marks a clear line between fools and the wise. It points out that sloth can make a difference in how your life goes. Here we see the reality of social classes.
So? Our job is to live righteously before God. It is not dependent on our income or class. It is dependent on grace and obedience.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
(Pro 18:9 KJV) He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
Is this verse an indictment of the various forms of government subsidies that we often lump under the title “welfare”. The forms of these payments are legion. Many of us might be getting it and been able to ignore the fact. I think that we can remove from consideration the categories of widows and orphans. The Bible has enough to say about helping them that we know they are not included. Some, such as Medicare and Medicaid are iffy. What I think this refers to is able bodied adults who refuse to support themselves.
This refusal can take many forms. The guy who refuses to get a second job or turns down overtime because he is involved in a softball league would fit the bill. The guy who wants to hang with his homies and forces his wife to get a job would qualify. When I was a pastor I was bothered by the number of preachers I knew who refused to ask their church for a raise but saw no problem with sending their wife off to work while the kids went to day care.
So? This might not refer to you in any way. It might only be a reminder that we are not supposed to be enablers of those who rely on our sympathy. Sloth is a sin.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
(Pro 17:20 KJV) He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
Ah, the King James Bible. Reading it is enough to make your brain sit up and say, “What?” Does anyone today have any idea what a “froward (6141) heart (3820)” is? To be honest, I have seen the word “froward” enough by now to really enjoy it. You will still find it in the dictionary. The NASB is more accurate with “crooked” but still misses the idea of being twisted. Yes, twisted is crooked but is a better word to embrace the evil nature of the condition.
People today like the diluted paraphrases where the paraphraser has done all the work of thinking for them and tells them what to think. One of the values of more advanced reading is that it forces you to engage your brain. When you engage your brain with a good heart it is possible to take the froward misunderstandings of life and turn them into upright decisions.
So? Don’t be afraid to think. It is often uncomfortable and usually puts you out of step with the world around you but it is the reason God cleanses your heart and regenerates you being.
Friday, April 16, 2021
Who Took My Glasses?
(Pro 16:2 KJV) All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
When I joke about my concern about dementia in my life, I often throw in the caveat, “I will be the last to know.” I often wonder if I am the one going crazy or if it is the people I am dealing with. You know, the conversations you don’t remember ever having, the conversations that you do remember having, the things you were supposed to have said that are not the things you would ever say, the can of peaches that suddenly appears at the front of the shelf where you looked five times. Or what about finding your glasses right where you left them. You get the drift.
This is a reminder that even when we are mentally fit our ability to make excuses for ourselves is prevalent enough to be mentioned in the Bible. We tend to live in our own skin and thus our opinions are a bit subjective.
So? Keep in mind that God put people around you to offer criticism and it is for your own good. You may not like it. I know I don’t. It is still necessary for us to listen.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
In the Valley
(Pro 15:29 KJV) The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Keep in mind that although the Lord is “far” (7350) from sinners, He has great hearing. It does not say that he cannot hear them although that seems to be implied. The problem for the sinner is that God can hear their heart, not just their voice. It doesn’t matter what your lips are saying if you heart is not in tune.
So? Are you walking through the valley of the shadow of death? I know I seem to be. The world seems to be on the verge of chaos. If I were not a believer I would be very much afraid of viruses, wars, black helicopters and all the rest. I am aware and concerned but the Lord is with me. It makes a difference.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
(Pro 14:15 KJV) The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
What is the difference between a cynic and a realist? Between a skeptic and a thinker? Between being critical and being negative? Often it is a fine line and the difference is in whether you agree with them or not. Pardon me if I don’t believe that congress passes laws to benefit the country. Forgive me if I don’t rush out and buy some product that a celebrity has endorsed. Don’t expect me to believe the milage boasts posted on the window of a new car. Please don’t color me “simple” (naive NASB) (6612a).
Part of being a follower of Jesus Christ is having a thinking cap and wearing it at all times. That applies even when you are reading the Bible. The problem isn’t the Bible but the interpretations we have heard over the years which tend to predetermine what we read.
So? God can speak but only when we listen. One thing I have noticed is that I can’t hear what my wife says from the other room when I have the water running and the microwave on task.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
No Such Thing As Holy Mush
(Pro 13:24 KJV) He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Spoiler Alert! In case you are still living in denial and/or attend a liberal church, the standards of God are at constant conflict with the world you live in. This extends through the moral degeneration represented by abortion and the homosexual agenda to the philosophy of deconstructionalism. In the middle of all that is child discipline.
Your world tells you that wisdom is in the children and parents are oppressors. The Bible teaches that children are born with a sinful nature and need to be nurtured in the truth of God. That will not be easy. If you have not had an encounter with God yourself then it may not be possible.
So? If you are not on board with Jesus, make the choice. Then you can apply the lessons that God wants you to demonstrate instead of the mush your school counselor tells you to dish out.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Watch Your Step
(Pro 12:21 KJV) There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
Have you ever stepped on a Lego with your bear foot? Have you ever been walking through the house and your foot seems to have a mind of its own as it swings wide and catches your little toe on a table leg? How is it going when you are in a hurry, go out to your car and find one of the tires flat? I would advise you not to read this verse at a time like this.
The time this verse comes home is when you are going in for some kind of surgery. You can do so knowing that Providence is alert and on the job. You can know that whatever the result, it will not qualify as “evil” (205). It is interesting that one of the definitions of this word is “idiolatry”. A broader meaning is sorrow. We do not need an attitude adjustment if we are trusting in the Lord.
So? Get ready for the adventure of the day, taking comfort in the knowledge that you have read the book and you know who wins.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
The Measure of the Law
(Pro 11:1 KJV) A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
One of the often repeated ideas in both the Old Testament and the New is that Israel was to keep God’s laws. They were to obey His commandments. Those concepts have a bleed over effect on Christians for although we are not saved by the works of the law we still have those standards that we are aware of. It is those standards that make us aware of where the lines are between righteous and sinful behavior.
As New Testament believers we often mock the idea of the law. We look at commandments not to mix linen and wool together or not to boil a calf in its mother’s milk and we say, “Nonsense that is better left behind.” Large numbers reject the idea of tithing because it is the Law and does not apply to us. The danger is that we fall into the heresy of antinomianism. Remember that the Ten Commandments are part of the Law and if you reject tithing because it is in the law maybe you can also lie with impunity because, after all, it is in the law.
Here we see the Law being applied to business dealings. We are not allowed to cut corners or fudge our measurements. To do so is an invitation to experience the wrath of God.
So? Righteous living is our calling. It applies to every part of our life. Since we will never get it down perfectly, we have grace and the blood. Those make it possible. They do not mean we can ignore it.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
(Pro 10:1 KJV) The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Every child will disappoint parents at some point. I understand that they are human and it isn’t good enough to blame those bad moments on the genealogy of your spouse. Kids mess up. The question is not if but how much and how bad. Child failure can be a teaching moment. The key is are you teaching. Of course that requires that they listen.
Keep in mind that to instill wisdom you need to have wisdom. Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. Wise children begin with seeking parents.
So? It is never too late to start. Your children may have moved on or in tragic times you may have outlived them. There are other little ears and eyes watching. Prepare to prepare.
Friday, April 9, 2021
(Pro 9:9 KJV) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
The emphasis we need for this verse is not in the verbs but what I think used to be called the direct object. It has been a long time since I studied sentence structure. It is the response of the receivers that is key, not the gift. The gift is available just about anywhere. Bibles can be found in many motel rooms and any thrift store. Most churches will give you one if you ask. The answers to the quiz are right there but it is like giving an open book quiz to middle school students who were too lazy to look for the answers.
So? God offers wisdom and instruction. We need to offer ears and attitude. It can be a winning combination or just frustration for the Creator. That is not good idea.
Thursday, April 8, 2021
From Start to Finish
(Pro 8:1 KJV) Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
I recently read an article about Star Wars and it kept talking about the great wisdom of Yoda. This is something that comes up often in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The books will often have quotes from fictional “holy books” or the sages of the planet. There will be songs and poems; aphorisms and proverbs. What always mystifies me is that people who write from their imagination think that they can come up with eternal truths. I am amazed, not at their wisdom, but by their arrogance.
It is possible that they are just paraphrasing what they have read elsewhere. We should not be guilty of having many sources and processing them through our imagination. The life God wants us to live is not based on us being creative with His eternal truth and modifying it with our spin. Too many theologians and Bible translators look at it that way. God has given us the Bible to base everything on.
So? I say it often because I am not listening. Make the Bible the starting point. For that matter, we should make it the finishing point also.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
(Pro 7:20 KJV) He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
I can get fixated on minor details. In this verse the KJV says “day (3117) appointed (3677)”. The NASB says, “full moon” (3677). I start wandering, which is it? I went to the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament for more depth and all it said was, “full moon”. There doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room. This is one of those rare cases where the KJV is acting like the Living Bible, it is paraphrasing.
Biblical people could plan and have schedules. It is not a modern occurrence. They may not have had the atomic clocks we have for incredible accuracy but they had enough to serve them in their day. Remember, no one else had a Rolex either. There are times when we just have to go with cultural conventions.
So? This is another reminder to let what is Caesar’s be Caesar’s.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
(Pro 6:7 KJV) Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
The ant does not labor under a supervisor. At the same time, the ant knows what its job is. Part of that is instinct. Ants don’t build bee hives. They don’t dam up rivers. They dig tunnels and gather certain types of food. That is instinct. Where the food is and where it is stored is information gathered from those who have gone before. There are lessons for us.
When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit there are certain qualities that are built in. This is why we can often let people grow in grace. They have an inner sense that certain things are not to the glory of God. At the same time they can learn from others on the same path. That is the value of times of testimony and reading biographies of godly people.
So? Walking the path and learning about it are important and available. You may not want to dig tunnels but you can dig into the word.
Monday, April 5, 2021
(Pro 5:10 KJV) Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
Our current cultural enthusiasm is for diversity and equality. Society is trying to level the playing field in all areas. Excellence and achievement are suspect. We hear that such things as being on time and honesty are cultural affectations. All cultures are supposed to be of equal value. No one is better than anyone else. Part of this, of course, is the communistic mantra of redistributing the wealth so that no one is rich and no one is poor.
To this the Bible says, “Rubbish.” Here we see one example of this. The fruit of your life is accumulated to be given to those close to you, not to the one from far away. Are we encouraged to share with those in need? Yes. The point here is that you don’t share with the guy you never met before you take care of your family, church and friends.
So? Don’t fall for the mantra of the world. Follow God’s standards and priorities.
Sunday, April 4, 2021
The Light Touch
(Pro 4:19 KJV) The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
After tripping over something in the dark I start turning on lights. It only lasts so long. I gradually get back to walking around the house in the middle of the night without seeing where I am going. After all, I know where the furniture it, right? Maybe, but we don’t always “know” (3045) what we think we know. Texas has these little critters called “scorpions”. And they have bigger creatures called “centipedes”. In addition to that we have a cat that is capable of leaving little surprises.
Evil is “as” (like NASB) “darkness” (653). In the English it would seem to be slightly different than being darkness. Let’s go with that. Evil is a characteristic that keeps us from seeing clearly. Thus a bright light in our eyes can keep us from seeing the trap in front of us. The point is that evil keeps us ignorant.
So? Take the time to gain the knowledge and wisdom that Proverbs refers to so often. I have flashlights all over the house. It does not take long to flip a switch. The resources are there. Use them.
Saturday, April 3, 2021
How Long, O Lord?
(Pro 3:16 KJV) Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
What is the point of a long life if you can’t enjoy it? I am at the age where every cough and ache makes me wonder, “Is this the one?” So far it has not been, but maybe next time. The current panic over a virus has driven many people into cocoons. They look out the door in fear and recoil when anyone gets close. They live in fear. That is not the result of reading Proverbs or Romans. It is the result of listening to the people who have a vested interest in keeping you petrified.
There is a reason why wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. When you have the right relationship with the greatest power you worry less about the lesser.
So? Work on the wisdom. It will give you a better reason to live longer.
Friday, April 2, 2021
(Pro 2:13 KJV) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
A Biblical truth that is stated here is that people can “leave” (5800) something called the “paths” (734) of “uprightness” (3476). Most Christians would accept that because they have seen it. The difference is in understanding what it means. For the Calvinist it means that they were just going through the motions of conforming to church behavior. They were never really saved in the first place. To the Wesleyan it can mean that they have gone apostate, they have denied the faith and consciously left it.
So? We need to learn to accept that people can turn on us. Whether they were really saved or not does not change the fact that they get a real joy from messing with God’s people. Be aware.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Embrace the Promise
(Pro 1:2 KJV) To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
The Bible is full of promises. In verse 2 we are in the middle of a long promise that God is making to us. If you have a chance read, over the first seven verses of chapter one. Maybe you could even pause and make a list of the qualities that are being offered. Then ask yourself how many people you know exhibit these qualities. You might even join me in looking at ourselves and asking how we measure up.
We begin a new month. Months are a bit arbitrary as are weeks. Days have a definite beginning and there is some basis for years. All of them are useful for the pause that generates growth.
So? It may be April Fool’s Day but that does not mean we need to be part of a Fool’s life. Embrace the promise and move forward.