(Pro 31:18 KJV) She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
Some of us would consider leaving the “candle" (lamp NASB) (5216) on all night wasteful. It is certainly something that the poor of that day could not afford to do. I would imagine that many of them went to bed at sundown and rose at dawn for that reason. So we can assume that God has blessed this woman and her family for being focused and hard working.
I don’t know about you but I don’t leave a lamp on at night. In my house there are enough computers and other devices that have power lights that I find I can make my way without stumbling over the big stuff. Picture a world of almost total darkness. A bit of light can make a big difference. We can look at this metaphorically and think about the things in our life that can supply this kind of light. It might be the music we habitually listen to. It could be a poster on the wall or photographs on our desk.
So? Consider finding a spiritual night light. When I am in my early morning time of thanksgiving and praise I like to look around the room and find the memories tied to different objects. It helps to remind me of all the blessings God has given.
Saturday, July 31, 2021
(Pro 31:18 KJV) She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
Friday, July 30, 2021
Three or Four
(Pro 30:29 KJV) There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
So are there only three or four things that are impressive in our world? Obviously not. We need to accept that there are places in the Bible that we read literary devices. I have a friend who is big on “rightly dividing the word of truth”, II Timothy 2:15. The problem is that he is the only one he thinks capable of doing that. I have not asked him about this verse but if he felt it was some very subtle teaching that fit into his system, then that would be that. I would be on the border of heresy.
So? There are interpretations that are totally false. There are others which differ and can be considered correct. We will never totally agree. We can’t agree on the best coffee or the healthiest diet. I hear people split churches over the color of the carpet. We need to learn to separate the important from the superfluous. Three or four is not important. The physical resurrection of Jesus is.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
(Pro 29:10 KJV) The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
This verse should be obvious, yet it isn’t. I think one reason why we may not be supportive of the “blameless” (8535) is because we don’t know who is blameless and who is not. We have lost our discernment about good and evil. There are two good reasons for that, not good because they are acceptable but because they explain.
One reason we don’t know the good is because the values of the world have permeated the church. When people living in adultery or fornication claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ the church has begun to accept the world’s definition of sexuality. That is just one example. It could extend also to refusing to reject heresy because we don’t want people to feel bad.
Another reason we don’t take stands for or against is that we don’t want to be called judgmental. People take Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7, reject the context, overlook the rest of the Bible and act like sin cannot be called sin. Thus we will have the same regard for the widowed mother as we have for the welfare queen.
So? We are called not only to live “upright” (3477) but to think upright. It is hard. It is condemned by the sinners who revel in their sin. It is expected by God.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
(Pro 28:18 KJV) Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
I read this and get a vision of Wiley Coyote as he rides a rocket sled, catches up with Road Runner and shoots past him as the bird steps aside. Wiley finds himself suspended in mid air with no support and suddenly he starts his “fall” (5307) “all at once” (259).
Most of us are not like the road runner, cruising through life with a stupid smile on our face, knowing that the producers of the cartoon have destined us to survival and triumph. I for one would have my moments of panic, or should I say, have had my moments of panic. One example of that is the omnipresent propaganda about the China Virus that has people living in fear, constantly looking over their shoulders and trembling at the thought of shaking hands. In spite of my skepticism I keep forgetting that God provided me with a marvelous immune system that is more effective than any vaccine and my guardian Angel is on the job.
So? Live righteously and expect that it makes a difference. God may allow stumbling blocks and hard times but He will make sure of the final score. Acme doesn’t have a chance.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Remember the Alamo
(Pro 27:1 KJV) Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Is this a recommendation that we should be pessimists? Are we supposed to assume tomorrow will be a disaster? No. The Bible is full of admonitions to expect God’s blessings along with being thankful for the ones we have. The precaution involves boasting about a tomorrow based on your great exploits of today.
We are always to place our trust in the Lord, not in our genius or hard work. We have all seen examples of “the best laid plans of mice and men” that crumbled when reality strikes. We have also seen disasters turn around to glorious success. We have seen combinations of the two. The two things that make the difference are our confidence in God and His actual plans for our time in history. Living in Texas makes me more aware of the Battle of the Alamo. It was a disaster. It would have been a tragedy if it was the end of the story but the reality is that it gave the Texans a chance to gather to defeat Santa Ana. That did not make the deaths and destruction pleasant but made them a moment of glory.
So? Since we can’t see the future nor understand the strands of history at work, why not accept that God is in charge and we can trust Him? I can’t think of a good reason either.
Monday, July 26, 2021
(Pro 26:28 KJV) A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
This would seem to imply that there is no such thing as a little white lie. It doesn’t rule it out but the idea is that lies destroy. It is hard to get this across to the generation I taught because their lives were already so broken by the deceptions of their parents and culture that they had no idea what it was to really trust. Marriage cannot thrive and might be impossible to preserve in an atmosphere of deceit. Secure, mature children cannot be raised when lies are accepted as normal. How can a business do well if the customers can’t trust the management?
Little white lies are usually the crack that starts to destroy the foundation. Or think of how a leak in your roof starts small and you may not even know about it until major damage has been done.
So? There is a reason why false witness is condemned as one of the Ten. It behooves us to pursue the integrity and strength of the truth.
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Easy to Say
(Pro 25:27 KJV) It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
I hate moderation. It isn’t any fun. I have noticed though that in the long run I am better off if I practice it. Think of the nights we would have slept better if we had stopped eating when we reached the point. Think of the next mornings after staying up reading long past your bed time. Here the mention is honey and trying to get ahead. They are not bad things unless they become an end in themselves.
So? Easy to say and hard to do is the story of my life. It is a story I need to work on.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
(Pro 24:15 KJV) Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
We have a tendency to forget this verse. We remember the “good old days” when certain things were assumed, when there was a courtesy and decencies that we could expect. Those days are gone if they ever were here. The “righteous” (6662) are fair game. The standards of God face open opposition. If you don’t believe it, go to a city council meeting and speak out against the homosexual agenda.
So? Understand that while this is a warning to you to lock your doors and watch your back it is also an assurance that the God of the universe is on the job and keeping score.
Friday, July 23, 2021
The Curse of Moderation
(Pro 23:30 KJV) They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
The use of alcohol as a beverage is controversial among Christians for some reason. As with many teachings in the Bible, the balanced approach of the Book is usually ignored and extremes adopted. Part of that is because most of us have a hard time with the thinking and discipline that comes from a reasoned, balanced approach to issues. The problem with alcohol is that too much of it is destructive to our reasoning powers and too long of excess can ruin our physical bodies. Think of it like strychnine. Strychnine is a natural substance that is often present in water and food. In the natural levels it is not dangerous but if too much is ingested it is deadly. Or take a drug like morphine. Carefully controlled it can be a life-saver in relieving pain. It can also lead to addiction and be destructive.
Too often people who claim to follow Jesus do not want to exercise the discipline that He expects. Drunkenness and gluttony are two examples of this. The difference is that you can live without booze but you can’t live without food.
So? It is always a good idea to examine the things we think are important and see if they are enhancing our lives or dragging us down. Here is it alcohol. My issues are other places but just as real.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
(Pro 22:25 KJV) Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
There are times when I am bored and observing people. Have you ever noticed how certain people tend to have their own walk. I am not talking about the Monty Python Silly Walks but a way of pacing and leaning that seems unusual. When I see a group of teen age boys who look like they are from some kind of hood I marvel at the way they throw their hips and rotate their shoulders. You can watch a group of girls and notice that they all fidget with their hair and pull on their clothes in the same ways. These mannerisms are what they “learn” (502). It is possible that they learned them from parents but most likely they picked it up from their peer group.
Sometimes it is deliberate. Sometimes it is unconscious. It happens. It is not always a good thing.
So? How do you worship? Do you act like your friends or do you act like God is watching everything you do? How do you treat family members? There are so many questions. Be careful whom you hang with and what models you chose.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
(Pro 21:7 KJV) The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.
Notice that “robbery” (violence NASB) (7701) and a lack of “justice” (4941) are linked. We would automatically think of coercion and strong arming as violent acts and we would be right. What we also need to understand is that violence does not necessarily need to be violent.
The definition of violence has the word “ruin” and the different translations in the NASB include “destroy”. There are many ways to destroy without attacking in the classical way. Historically many cities have been brought down by hunger or thirst. Another tactic that did not involve swords or guns was disease. A lack of justice can eat away at the foundations of a society as much as a rash of gunfire. The problem we face is the way our culture has redefined justice and made it a tool of discrimination.
So? Don’t fall for the political manipulation of such vital concepts as justice, love, marriage or any of the many other things that are being redefined. Justice that preserves a society is based on the standards of God and not the whims of men.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Not the Briar Patch
(Pro 20:14 KJV) It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
I know it is not politically correct but this reminds me of a segment of the movie “Song of the South.” In the story you have Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox getting ready to do bodily harm to Br’er Rabbit. He pretends that he is good with anything they want to do to him but pleads, “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch.” Of course they are deceived, throw him in the patch and watch him dance away singing, “Born and raised in the briar patch....”
Too many conversations we have take on this element. If we are at a swap meet and it is expected, then go for it. If we are talking about teaching a Sunday School class it might be important to be more honest.
So? This is about business. We are supposed to be honest. I know that is sometimes hard but remember when your wife asks you if the dress makes her look fat you can say with all honesty that the dress does not make her look fat.
Monday, July 19, 2021
(Pro 19:13 KJV) A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
Two different classes of people are mentioned here. In generic terms that would be offspring and spouses. I often wonder how dangerous it is to assume the generic though. Take children as an example. My daughter was much easier to deal with than my son. Both have turned out well so I don’t feel the anguish of Solomon, but there were many times when I was seriously thinking of taking him back to the hospital and demanding a refund. I will also concede that sometimes girls are the bigger problem but if I had to place a bet I would put it on the son.
Are wives more irritating than husbands? Being a husband, and knowing what a pleasure I am to live with, I find that easy to believe. But do you notice that the stereotype is perpetual? Has anyone ever heard of a rooster-pecked wife? Do we tell father-in-law jokes?
So? The principle might be applied both ways but the Bible tends to reflect real life. You don’t have to like it, but there it is.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
(Pro 18:12 KJV) Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
This is a verse loaded with threat and dire consequences. It also offers hope.
Let’s face it, life has bad times. We have all allowed ourselves to be overcome with the bumps of life. There are times when we feel like it has all been a waste of time. At times it is just a mood swing; at others, real tragedy. We know that God has promised to not desert us. We know He has seen us through before, but this time....
The hope comes if we really believe regardless of what we feel. “Humility” (6038) does not come easy for most of us. The reality it that sometimes we need to be take down a notch before we will listen. That is the crisis moment. Will we listen, consider our God and continue to move forward in faith, or will we demand to be in charge?
So? It is early in the morning as I write. I don’t know what the day has in store that I have not expected or prepared for. I need to make sure I don’t get on my high horse and demand that life be under my control. As God says, “I’ve got this.” The problem is that He will usually let go and let things deteriorate until we take our hands off.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Bigger Than a Man
(Pro 17:23 KJV) A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
One of the recurring forms we find in Bible translations is the insertion of words like “man” in the English that are not in the Hebrew. We also see this with the word “is”. While it does not necessarily take away from the meaning of the verse it does give people who are looking for excuses something to grab hold of. It is technically more accurate to say here, “the wicked” instead of “wicked man”. “Wicked” (7563) is definitely in the Hebrew and that is the point. Wicked people can be bought off instead of insisting on “justice” (4941).
The buying off can take many forms as we are seeing in our culture today. It can be in immediate payment, a future promise or even threats against the family.
So? Recognize evil in its many forms. Bribes are evil even when they are sugar coated. As Christians we should be making judgements in life based on what is right and wrong, not on what benefits us.
Friday, July 16, 2021
Angles of Pride
(Pro 16:5 KJV) Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Pride. In one sense it is part of the human condition. In that sense we are all locked inside our heads and can’t get out. It is impossible for me to know what you are feeling and in a sense what you are thinking. Compare it to pain. Everyone experiences pain but we respond to it differently. I had some wisdom teeth out years ago. Everyone I knew told me how terrible it was. They focused on the pain and the days of suffering. I am still wondering what they were talking about. Sure, I could not eat pop corn for a few days but it was really no big deal. Did I not have any pain or did I just ignore it? I will never know.
In another sense our pride is an attitude. It is an attitude that looks down on others. That is the basic root meaning of the word, to be elevated. The most common translation is “high”. The only problem with being taller or higher is if we think it is some kind of quality that makes us better. It is the same way of thinking that can lead to racial hatred or class warfare.
So? We need to keep remembering that we are all sinners saved by grace. The balancing act comes in when we realize we have gifts and they need to be exercised.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
(Pro 15:32 KJV) He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
I find it interesting that in all of the definitions of “neglects” (6544a) the first one is “to lead, to act as leader”. At first that did not make any sense to me but as I looked at all the variations of the word I saw that this was not a Godly type of leadership talked about. Proverbs is big on kings and leaders listening to advice, seeking counsel. What we have here is a person who has all the information and expertise sitting right at his door but he chooses to ignore it and go his own way.
Think of the successful people that ended up in tragedy. The obvious ones committed suicide. Less obvious are the ones who had their minds and health syphoned away by drugs, alcohol, gluttony and sexually transmitted diseases. They often deteriorate slow enough that people are not paying attention to them when they hit the wall. They still hit it.
So? Each and every day I am faced with decisions. The big question is will I listen to the wisdom that God offers or decide to go one more day on my own steam. Maybe it would be a good idea to put a sign on the inside of our doors, “Warning! Wall ahead.”
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
News and Noise
(Pro 14:26 KJV) In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
We are no longer living in the 1950's. Things are not stable and we don’t have the sense of security that we knew then. At least I don’t now and I did then. As I say that I remember some of the stories my wife shares about the air raid drills she went through as a child. She actually was worried about bombs falling as she knelt under her desk at school. I on the other hand thought it was fun to get out of school work. The times were the same. The response was different. Why?
For the verse today let’s set aside basic personality issues and concentrate of the thought here. I lived in a family where my father had a “fear” (3374) of the “Lord” (3068) [Yhvh]. She had a father that paid only lip service to the claims of God. Both were self employed. Neither made a lot of money. One child has “confidence” (4009), the other fear.
So? It makes a difference how we respond to the news of the day and the noises of the night. I watch the government arresting pastors for holding church. I watch believers cowering in their homes because they have been ordered not to meet. We need to put our trust in God and live without fear.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
(Pro 13:2 KJV) A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
Our modern pagan culture has a lot of ideas that are warping our society. One of those is the warping put on the concept of “violence” (2555). The basic meaning of our English word is the use of force and destruction. It is another one of those words that relies on its context. The Hebrew word seems to include the idea of the force being for evil purposes. There is a difference. The difference is the difference between the rule of law exercised in countries based on Christian principles and the rule by fiat in tyrannical dictatorships. Both have police but only one requires them to use restraint. Both have courts but only one seeks justice.
So? Don’t let the pagan culture lull you to sleep on basic truth and proper expectations of society. God is a God of peace. At the same time He supports the place of the government to carry the sword to punish evil and we have the final battles of prophecy.
Monday, July 12, 2021
(Pro 12:24 KJV) The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
Two days ago I wrote about how being lazy can make you poor. Today we have another reality that sometimes forces itself on us. We have not seen this in recent times, at least not in America but there have been times in history when the rulers needed a labor force to do something that no one wanted to do. They would send out a squad to round up anyone who was not busy with a job. If it was just your day off then it is a bad day to be relaxing. The British would “recruit” sailors for their navy using what were called press gangs. If you have ever been in the military and they needed a work detail, you don’t want to be anywhere in sight.
Or it might have been that the rulers were looking at all the guys standing around with nothing to do but get into trouble.
So? I think the idea for us might be that if we don’t focus and find something useful to do then someone else will find it for us, and the pay will not be great.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
(Pro 11:6 KJV) The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
I am convinced that the Holy Spirit can use almost anything to teach us. I say this because this month I am slogging through a modern “translation”, the New Century Version, which simplifies the language so much that it becomes a red delicious instead of the Pink Lady that God intended it to be and paraphrases with abandon. This verse reads like this,
“Doing what is right brings freedom to honest people.As I was reading this I was struck with an insight into the freedom that Christ brings. It is not the political liberty that we associate with the word but the joy that comes from not being slaves to our own sinful nature. I know that is not what it says. There is a storehouse of difference between the promise of deliverance and a generic freedom. “Righteousness” (6666) is much more than just “doing what is right”. This translation is pablum. I have no memory of what pablum is like. It may have some nutrition. At the same time I don’t think it compares to old fashioned oatmeal with a generous dash of cinnamon.
But those who are not trustworthy will be caught in their own desires.”
So? God can teach us even when the “scholars” of the world want to manage the message. All it takes is a questing heart and a willing mind. Praise and adoration. The Holy Spirit strikes again.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Careful with the Converse
(Pro 10:4 KJV) He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
As I was comparing the NASB to the KJV it seemed like there was a different emphasis in this verse. The NASB says,
(Pro 10:4 NAS77) Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.The KJV seems to be saying that sloth leads to poverty. The NASB nuances itself around that point. I looked through the sixteen translations I have on my software and they all seemed to agree with the approach of the KJV. The Good News Bible, a paraphrase if there ever was one, puts it short and to the point,
(Pro 10:4 GNB) Being lazy will make you poor, but hard work will make you rich.It would also be important to point out that the opposite does not follow. You need to be careful about saying that being poor makes you lazy. In some parts of the world the entire population is poor and they work hard from dawn to dusk just to keep from starving. In some American communities there are cases of generational poverty that works as a handicap. If you have not been taught the value of work or how to work you might just give up.
So? If you are a follower of Jesus then you are expected to not be lazy. Of course the principle follows even if you are not a Christian but that is the way God’s laws tend to work. They are good for everyone.
Friday, July 9, 2021
Wise for Thyself
(Pro 9:12 KJV) If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
As I looked at this verse today I consulted the commentaries on my software. I downloaded a few new ones and wanted to see if they had anything to offer. There was a consensus going on. They agreed that it is of primary importance to apply the lessons you learn to yourself first. Have you had the experience of hearing a sermon and knowing just who needed to hear it? The sad part is that often it is someone else when the Holy Spirit is trying to talk to you, or me.
Even the second greatest commandment points this out in telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In this day of narcissism and safe spaces we have swung the pendulum far past its intended resting place. That is why it is wisdom that needs to be applied. It isn’t talk about rights and what you deserve. It is taking the eternal standards of the eternal God and conforming our lives to them.
So? Mow your own lawn and then go help your neighbor.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
(Pro 8:4 KJV) Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
The first couple of verses give us an understanding of where wisdom is proclaimed. This verse tells us to whom. I can’t see that the “you” is in the Hebrew. I don’t like to admit it but the paraphrase “translations”, like the Contemporary English Version, tend to get the feel of this.
(Pro 8:4 CEV) "I am calling out to each one of you!One of the deviant ideas that has grown up in the historic Christian church is that only a select few can live upright, godly lives. Thus we see priesthood developing in the liturgical churches. We Protestants experience this when someone lets some four letter words fly around a preacher and says something like, “Pardon my French, Reverend.” While it is true that some are called to spend more time in what are considered “spiritual” activities,
(Act 6:4 KJV) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word...,It is expected that the demands of righteousness are made on everyone.
So? When you read accept the fact that the Bible is speaking to you, not your wife. Well, it may be speaking to her but that doesn’t let you off the hook.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Catch of the Day
(Pro 7:23 KJV) Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
I have never set a “snare” (6341a). I am not sure I have ever seen a snare in real life. That does not mean that I have not been close to one. I have read about them. I assume that snares in hunting are usually put in places where the game might pass. If you are after rabbits you don’t set the snare in a tree or on top of a bush. I would also assume that the snares are camouflaged some way. The rabbit should know that the hunter is out to get him. Believers should know that Satan is out to get them.
Some snares are just a matter of chance. Have you ever been making your way through a crowded room and an electrical cord reaches out and wraps itself around your foot? If you are having a good day you notice, stop and untangle. If the clutter gods are after you then you may trip and fall. In that case you could have been saved by paying more attention, moving slowly or having faster reflexes. Just as your friends will laugh when you get caught, Satan will rejoice at what he has unexpectedly caught.
So? Be alert. That means knowing the dangers. Here the reference is to sexual sin. Proverbs also deals with sloth, lies, credit, dishonesty in business, and the list goes on. Many of these are avoided by simple, righteous living. Others might catch us when we are looking the other way. Do not despair. You are not a bird designed for the dinner table. God will always be waiting for repentance and confession with forgiveness and restoration.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
(Pro 6:10 KJV) Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
How important is our physical stance? Those of us in an older generation have certain stereotypes seared into our brains: Kneeling for prayer, closing our eyes when we pray, getting saved at an altar, singing from an hymnal, sitting in rows. Younger people might think of always standing to sing, not being able to worship without a cup of coffee or a water bottle and open collars with faded denim pants. I am sure there are cultural developments on many of these things and thus they are in that neutral world of actions which can be righteous or carnal depending on our reasoning.
I find that certain positions tend to put me in this verse. My big recliner is a great place to pray and contemplate spiritual things. It is also a great place to fall asleep. You have heard that idle hands are the devils workshop to which I like to add, busy hands are his proving grounds. Today I might add that the weeds won’t get pulled if our hands are folded.
So? I find that sometimes I need to get out of my chair so the Lord can speak to me. You might have other distractions. Working in your garage might be how you fold your hands. Anything can get in the way of communication.
Monday, July 5, 2021
To Hear Should Be to Obey
(Pro 5:13 KJV) And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
Although either translation is acceptable, I think the KJV hits the target better with its “obeyed” (8085) rather than the NASB’s “listen”. Both are legitimate. One emphasizes the necessity to respond in obedience. The world is full of people who know what is right. When the pastor talks about salvation the odds are that few in the congregation have never heard about it. When my granddaughter gets into the cookies there is no question that she knows she was supposed to resist temptation.
I don’t know if we will be judged just on what we admit to hearing or on all that we have been told. There is an element of individual relationship that God is in charge of. At the same time, He isn’t big on playing games and He knows our hearts.
So? Take Him seriously. Just because the wrath of God did not descend on your head for taking that cookie does not mean it went unnoticed.
Sunday, July 4, 2021
(Pro 4:22 KJV) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
So many important details in life have both an objective and a subjective element. Here we are reading about the chance to experience “life” (4832) and “health” but notice it is not guaranteed or automatic. One of the problems with the Bible that is often ignored is the conditional quality of the promises. People want automatic refills on their prescriptions. God usually demands that you request them.
I remember a visual effect in an amusement park attraction. I think it was one of the Haunted Shack type of things. It had a faucet suspended in mid-air with a constant flow of water running down into a cup that never overflowed. To a small child it was impressive. To an adult with a bit of awareness it was obvious there was a tube hidden in the stream of water. Automatic refills are an illusion in most spiritual matters. God is not a waitress who comes by every few minutes to top off your coffee cup.
So? The answers to life are right in front of you. Make sure you do your part in receiving them.
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Back to Basics
(Pro 3:19 KJV) The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
We are reminded in this verse of one of the primary divisions between the Christian and the modern pagan.
(Gen 1:1 KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.It isn’t a difference in the process of science or trying to figure out the nature of nature. It is a matter of faith. Did God do it or did it just happen? Since the modern pagan refuses to accept that there is any higher power than himself, God obviously could not have done it. To believers who keep asking the evolutionists, “And what caused that to happen?” it was the Prime Mover.
So? Don’t ever forget that the differences exist. They are not frivolous. They are basic. Learn the truth and remember it.
Friday, July 2, 2021
Watch Your Wife
(Pro 2:16 KJV) To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
I will vary the translation I am reading for the month. Sometimes a different Bible will give an insight that had grown stale. Other times it leaves me feeling like someone took all the vitamins out of the vegetables. Today I had that feeling. This verse stood out to me as I read in the New Century Version. Compare what you are reading with this from the NCV,
“It will save you from the unfaithful wife who tries to lead you into adultery with pleasing words.”
Keep in mind that many of these modern “translations” are deliberately dumbed down to meet the level of intellect our schools are putting down. In the preface this effort says, “Sentences have been kept relatively short and uncomplicated.” So when I read this in my short and uncomplicated mind I got the impression that I needed to be alert to my wife leading me into adultery. Not so. The key phrases in the Hebrew are “strange woman” or “foreigner”. They are consistently translated that way in dependable translations.
I got curious and did a search to find out the reading level of this “translation”. I found a scale at a site called Bible Gateway. It rates the NCV at third grade level. For comparisons the NLT is sixth grade, the NIV is seventh grade, the NASB is 11th and the KJV is 12th.
So? If you are trying to teach your third grader to read then use one of these low fat versions. If you are serious about knowing the mind of God then remember that famous German proverb, “Ohne Fleis, kein Preis.” And keep in mind that sloth is one of the deadly sins. I assume that applies to mental sloth as well as physical.
The Everyday Bible, New Century Version. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1987.
Thursday, July 1, 2021
He Is Talking to You
(Pro 1:5 KJV) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
This is a reminder that we can always continue to grow. I would imagine that many people would agree with that. One problem is that as we get older we tend to run out of energy, or we just get lazy. It is also harder to find things we don’t already know.
Part of growing in wisdom is recalling things we knew but have forgotten. Sometimes it is a deliberate setting aside but often just overload. For those of us who have walked in the Way for a time we find that much of what the pastor has to say on Sunday is stuff we already know. The key for us is to allow the Holy Spirit to make it fresh for us.
Part of the difficulty is finding wisdom that we can trust. I find that I don’t go to my Bible commentaries much any more. The reason is that with increased knowledge I am more aware of their bias and theological presuppositions. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between scholarship and advocacy. Some would say there is no difference. For that reason I find myself more interested in cross references in my Bible than the footnotes by the editor. I also find that my concordance is a better source of cross references than the suggestions in the margin.
So? We can never coast. We need to keep listening, thinking and pondering. At least I do.