(Pro 30:15 KJV) The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
I am sure that everyone who believes that tithing is part of the legalism of the Old Testament loves this verse. They use it to repudiate calls to “give” (3051). In so doing they become the “daughters” (1323). The issue here is not the giving or the call for giving. The issue is the self-centeredness of the transaction. I think it is safe to assume that these young women were not know for their generosity. They were probably the last ones to come to work day or to contribute to the food bank. They are not the people you would come to when you are down on your luck.
These are the people who complain that the A/C is not cold enough when they put nothing in the offering. I am reminded of the woman who said she would be glad to give to the Easter offering but she would take it out of her tithe. The double whammy on this is she was not tithing.
So? Be a giver.
Thursday, June 30, 2022
(Pro 30:15 KJV) The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Versed in Memory
(Pro 29:12 KJV) If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
We are moving toward the midterm elections. This will involve political offices from school boards to the Senate. We need to understand that the values of the leaders will be applied to that which they lead. It is not always clear how to apply this. It might help to realize that the issue here is honesty not whether taxes should be raised. It is time to put our roots down into the word of God so we can understand truth and pray that our memories would be accurate and long.
This also applies to church elections. Some churches give the people in the pews a say in how things go. If you are a part of such a congregation you need to apply the same standards. It may not be a Biblical issue if your pastor or church board allows coffee and shorts in the sanctuary. It is an issue if they reject the divinity of Christ or the inspiration of the Bible.
So? Get those brains turned on before it becomes illegal. I guess this is also a recommendation that we be honest ourselves.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
(Pro 28:26 KJV) He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Another way of expressing “trust in your own heart” is to do your own thing. That is a popular phrase today. We want to be independent and not manipulated. What usually ends up happening is that we get manipulated into conformity. Non-conformists have a uniform. Somehow they have talked themselves into thinking they are being different but they just become the same. Who is the brain child that came up with the idea of wearing a one-size-fits-all baseball cap backwards? It keeps the sun off your neck and awards you with a little tan triangle on your forehead but other than that, what is the point? Think of the denim you have seen in the store that looks like it came from a second tier thrift store.
This verse is talking about bigger issues than wardrobe but the principle is the same. Don’t do your own thing. Don’t trust your own taste. Don’t be satisfied with your own truth.
So? Don’t be a fool. Trust in something bigger than yourself, God maybe?
Monday, June 27, 2022
Time for a Little Talk
(Pro 27:5 KJV) Open rebuke is better than secret love.
There are many teachings in the Bible that conveniently get overlooked. Sometimes it is because of political pressure about things like homosexuality. Sometimes it is the requirements of the doctrinal system the church has embraced. Sometimes it is simply to keep people in the pews happy. Sometimes it is all of the above. That is where we find ourselves on issues like “rebuke” (8433b), reprove and correction.
There is a good chance that your church has accepted the definition of love dished out by your local cable company by way of Hollywood. In doing so you have ignored the repetitive call for the church to live in righteousness and for believers to hold each other accountable. It is not a popular teaching but it is in good company. People don’t like to hear about sin in any form.
So? If your pastor won’t touch on such things it does not give you an excuse for ignoring truth. Read and study on your own. It may be you need to have a talk with the pastor. That is called rebuke.
Sunday, June 26, 2022
(Pro 26:13 KJV) The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
I wonder if lazy people are poor liars. This guy is making a claim that can be easily checked. Lions did exist in the Holy Land. Remember Sampson made a riddle about one. Being caught out in such a simply checked bit of foolishness seems counterproductive.
I would assume that lazy people don’t care what people think. That kind of attitude is obviously being spoken against.
So? I would assume that we don’t want to be liars. It is a real issue with God.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Time to Harden
(Pro 25:19 KJV) Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
Misplaced “confidence” (4009) can be a tragedy. Sometimes trusting the wrong person is unavoidable. People are very good at covering up their true character. I wonder how often the real reason we are fooled is because we don’t want to make the hard calls. The modern church has adopted “Judge not...” as their go to verse for daily living. We have been told time and time again that we are not to be critical but to accept people as they are. To me this has obviously been overdone.
It is time for us to move people with the gift of mercy to an advisory position in the church instead of putting them in charge of the order of service. We need to seek out people with discernment and allow them to exercise their gifts.
So? We can do a lot better job of picking our leaders and deciding whom to support but it will take some effort and risk at being called hard-hearted. It is time to move the pendulum back to the middle.
Friday, June 24, 2022
Devil Storms and Beans
(Pro 24:19 KJV) Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
As I was trying to be spiritual my wife let me know that if I didn’t take things off the front porch we would die in the next 24 (48?) hours from the devil storm that was coming our way. She knows this is true because she saw it on the internet. Needless to say she is fretting. Eventually she will actually be right. Devil storms do happen. This is not the kind of fretting that is being talked about in this verse.
What Proverbs is comforting us about is the kind of things we see going on in the political realm. We are told we are on the cusp of World War III and that Putin is rattling his nuclear sabers. We are warned of coming starvation: Today infants, tomorrow the world. The list goes on.
So? We are told not to “fret” (2734). Does that mean don’t buy some extra oatmeal and cans of beans? No. That is called being sensible and planning for the fluctuations of life. It means not living in doom and gloom. Don’t forget that God dealt with the enemies of Israel. Of course you might also remember that He dealt differently when they were living in obedience than He did when they were being hedonistic pagans.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
(Pro 23:10 KJV) Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
This is a verse that I have a hard time relating to. Who would do such a thing today? Well, I listened to someone this week who talked about how you could move the stakes put down by surveyors and increase the size of your property. The speaker acting like a guru on the internet was saying you could get away with it. I have my doubts but it is amazing what people will try.
So? The creative reach of people trying to game the system is impressive. They may not think of anything really new but they come up with things long forgotten. On the other hand the people that come up with these schemes know that what they are doing is illegal and immoral. We need to remember that God knows our hearts a lot better than our neighbors do and His response has eternal consequences.
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
(Pro 22:5 KJV) Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Don’t people see the pitfalls that are in plain sight? Think of the obvious ones: STD, DUI, HIV and the list goes on. Yours might be different than mine. It would seem obvious to me that a lack of honesty will eventually come back to bite you. I have always been leery of using my credit card thoughtlessly. I never leave a gun on the car seat.
Some of the blindness is due to arrogance. Some is conditioning. On occasion it is due to basic ignorance. The traps are still there and deadly.
The cure for the traps is also available. I think the best place to start is in the written word of God. Learn the principles and then go on in your reading. It will help you decide who is blowing smoke and who is setting a trap.
So? Today is a good time to start.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Who Done It?
(Pro 21:19 KJV) It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
I know what it says and it is easy to just accept it but I always ask myself questions. Today’s question, “Was this written to the man or the woman?” It seems obvious, yet I wonder.
I wonder about this and other verses like it because the advice is usually not very useful if it is addressed to the man or husband. If you are still courting then, sure, it is the man. It is a warning. If they are married it gets a little hard to pack up your camping gear, walk out of the house and pitch your tent out among the cactus. Historically men have dealt with it by becoming circuit riding preachers or circuit court judges. Some became sailors. Today you might become a long haul truck driver. Still, it is admitting defeat to move out and live with the prairie dogs.
If you look at it as an admonition to the woman it is a totally different matter. Have you wondered why your husband is gone so much, whatever the reason given? And there is also the point that the point could also apply to a man who is hard to live with.
So? One of the principles of Bible reading to me is to apply the lesson to yourself first. I need to see if I need to change. I have little ability to change the others in my life.
Monday, June 20, 2022
(Pro 20:7 KJV) The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
This is a painful verse. The pain does not come from my own life but from watching the children of friends and public figures. What does it mean to be “righteous” (6662) (NASB) or “just” (KJV)? This verse gives at least part of the definition but who would want to claim that they have even come close to the blameless walk portrayed here? I know that when I look at my life I am more than aware of my failures and I would think that my children would also see them. I know my wife does because she reminds me all the time.
This morning, before I read this verse, I was praying for my circle and thanking God for how my children have matured. If I were able to create a scale I believe my children would come out higher than the rest. That could just be a father talking.
So? I have to believe that I have done some things right. It could be that my children, like my God, are able to look past the obvious failures to see the desires of my heart. I take comfort in that. Invest your life in a way that pays dividends.
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Living the Memory
(Pro 19:5 KJV) A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
As followers of Jesus we are called to be different. The difference is increasing in our modern age, or so it appears. Maybe it has always been severe. Maybe we just look at the past with Leave It to Beaver memories. The basic demand is still the same.
Here the demand is to tell the truth. Keep in mind that this is one of the original Ten. Ask yourself why God chose this to be on the primary list for moral behavior. At the other end you have Jesus declaring that He is truth. That is to be our standard.
So? Accept it. Watch your mouth and your body language. It has eternal consequences.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
(Pro 18:2 KJV) A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
Have you ever been in a group discussion or even a two-way conversation and found your eyes glazing over because someone is stepping far over the line. I refer to the line of pompous certainty. They drone on and on as if we cared about their opinion. Sometimes we do. Sometimes what they share can strike a button we need pushed. For that reason we keep listening and trying to stay awake. We have all been there.
What this verse is reminding us of is that we are sometimes that eye glazer. Let’s face it. People don’t always want to hear what we have to say. The is even more of an insight when we are saying it for the fifth time.
So? Don’t be a droner. Don’t be an eye-glazer. Listen, learn, and stay out of trouble.
Friday, June 17, 2022
Be Not Glad
(Pro 17:5 KJV) Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
I am reading through Proverbs monthly. I work through Psalms roughly every five months. I have a constant journey going on reading straight through the Bible. While that is going on there are always certain passages that keep coming to mind and being referred to. One of those is the Love Chapter and the part that applies to this is,
(1Co 13:6 KJV) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;This is both a negative and a positive. The way I put it together is that I am supposed to want the best for people, even the ones that are on my bad-guy list.
So? Again there is the idea that it makes a difference how we think and what our attitudes are. I may be able to keep my actions in line but God sees the heart and reads the mind. Of course that also involves not making excuses for sin but that is another topic.
Thursday, June 16, 2022
(Pro 16:17 KJV) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
In looking at the mention of “highways” (4546) in the Bible I noticed that there is at least one other Hebrew word used. In the definitions the main difference I could see was that this a climbing process and well made roads while the other implied that they were also well used. I don’t know if it is really in the meaning of the words but it is an interesting difference.
This verse is literally talking about a way that is high. It is telling us that if we want to walk with Almighty God then we are expected to make choices that take us to moral heights, not common convenience. This is the road Robert Frost should have been referring to,
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
So? Life is full of choices and they make a difference.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Hickory Sticks and Rainbows
(Pro 15:32 KJV) He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
The Hebrew word for “instruction” (discipline NASB) (4148) is bigger than the KJV translation. It is more than taking a few classes or listening to a lecture. To be fair, education in the time of King James was a bit different. Do you remember, or for that matter did you ever hear, the song that goes,
School day, school days,The hickory stick was not just to point at things on the board. It was to smack unresponsive students.
Good old golden rule days.
Reading and writing and ‘rithmatic,
Taught to the tune of a hickory stick.
One of the sad truths of life is that we usually learn better under duress than we do when smiling and happy. You may not like it but the idea that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar should bring to mind that we are not trying to catch flies.
So? The point is not “inflict pain”. The point is to learn from life. The more you can learn with sunshine and rainbows the lest you will need the hickory stick.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Time to Go
(Pro 14:7 KJV) Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
Set aside for a moment the need to decide someone is a fool and how that conflicts with,
(Mat 5:22 KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.The point being made here is that if you spend too much time around certain types of people it will get harder and harder for you to think clearly.
I have gone through that this week. I spend several days in intense discussion, debate, argument, pick your term, with someone of strong opinion and numerous cherry picked, proof texts. I knew going in it would be a losing battle but I wasn’t trying to win a war. I find that in-depth, passionate discussion helps to focus my thinking. The key is having a time limit. At the time of discussion it is hard to counter carefully picked and out of context verses that seem to say one thing. It is when you withdraw and have a chance to think without the buffeting that you can begin to put the package together.
So? Listen to what people have to say. Then go away, read and think on your own. The word and the Spirit will draw you back and you will be a stronger person for it.
Monday, June 13, 2022
(Pro 13:4) The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
If you are paying attention you will know that Christianity is under attack. Of course it has always been under attack. The world hates God and His Son. That is a given. The God haters of the world are using a new approach. They are taking basic principles of God and acting like they are some kind of exclusive creation of one race. This verse is presenting one of the standards being attacked.
This verse in Proverbs is saying that hard work has a reward. This principle is repeated many other places and ways. It should be one of those no-brain-required statements that no one bothers to argue with. Instead it is labeled as a Eurocentric construct of racist thinking.
So? Be careful what kind of hate talk you accept without comment. We are surrounded by forces of the anti-Christ. Make sure that your thinking and values are rooted in Biblical truth not the latest spin of the God-haters.
Sunday, June 12, 2022
(Pro 12:9 KJV) He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
In what ways do we “honor” (3513) ourselves? The Hebrew has the root meaning of making heavy. You can see how that would work out if we were weighing ourselves on a scale or lining things up by size. We would put our thumb on the scale or get some risers for our shoes. I hate to admit it but this is a common trait in human beings. In a sense we can’t help it. We are trapped in our bodies. We only know what we can experience with our senses.
But we were created in the image of God. That means that we can think outside the box when the box is us. It means we have access to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It also means that we can ignore all that and still put ourselves first.
So? This is something that we need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Proverbs is glad to be of service. Make the best of it.
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Live Your Priorities
(Pro 11:28) He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
Most people would admit that we are in a time of crisis. That is true politically, spiritually and economically. We are being faced with choices every day. What we need to establish right now is the principles and priorities that are going to guide our decisions. We need to adjust our focus so that certain truths come through clearly.
The priority in our lives needs to be righteousness. We need to be concerned first with living lives that bring glory to God. I am sure that you have a supply of Bible verses that you can call on or that pop up on their own. One that should come to mind at this time is,
(Mat 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.So? Money is necessary in modern living. We are not in a barter economy. Even if we were the principle would still be in place. It is more important that you make an honest trade than how many onions you can get for your potatoes. Priorities. Principles. Not just for listing but for living.
Friday, June 10, 2022
Two Times Was A Charm
(Pro 10:13 KJV) In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
I like to think that I can learn my lessons but I am afraid that physical reminds are necessary. I was reminded of this last week when I was mowing what I call the back yard. I did not have any problem until toward the end when I was mowing under a tree. I ran into a low hanging branch. I have done it before. You would think I could learn. No. The next time I went around the tree I ran into the branch again. My biggest frustration was caused by honesty. There was no way I could blame the tree.
I am glad to report that I did not hit my head a third time. I would like to think I have learned my lesson but we will need to wait until the next mow.
So? Learn you lessons. It is best if you learn to duck but if not there will always be something in life to remind you. The big issue is when these times are moral failure rather than a tree limb.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
The Tragedy of Wanting
(Pro 9:16 KJV) Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
This is a good verse to remind us of why it can be useful to compare translations. I was looking at the KJV and my mind was being fooled by what seemed simple English. I made the assumption that to “want” (2638) something means to have a desire for it. Compare that to the NASB which has “lacks”.
(Pro 9:16 NAS77) "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she says,I know the meaning of “want” that was being used but I was not thinking.
So? Never stop thinking. Never stop paying attention. Sometimes it changes things.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
A Ray of Hope
(Pro 8:5) O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Usually when Proverbs talks about these personality types it is with a shaking of the head and no real hope. Here there is a different implication. We have a ray of hope. This seems to be saying that the empty headed fools of our lives can actually do something about it. The problem is that there is no pill or magic spell that brings about the transformation. It seems obvious that they need to want it enough to put in the effort.
So? Don’t give up on the fools in your life. They do need to change. That is the bad news. The good news is that it can happen.
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
(Pro 7:25 KJV) Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
How do you think this young man responded to this warning? My guess is that he was just like us. He ignored the word of the wise. Do you think that he didn’t already know that sneaking off with another man’s wife was wrong? Really? Keep in mind he was not raised watching modern television and attending public schools. He was raised in a Jewish culture. He probably could have repeated the Ten Commandments to you including the one that involves adultery.
He made a choice and he wasn’t in a listening mood.
So? This can obviously be said about the many choices we make that are less destructive than adultery. The general problem is not that we don’t know but that we choose. Choose wisely.
Monday, June 6, 2022
The Three Step of Holiness
(Pro 6:23 KJV) For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
Here we see a convenient three step aid to living righteously. Two of then involve Hebrew words you might be familiar with. First we have the “commandment” (4687) which is [mitzvah]. This is the broadest of the terms. You are familiar with it in the term bar mitzvah which a Jewish boy goes through as a rite of passage. That might be translated as “son of the Law”. Then comes the “law” (teaching NASB) (8451) or [torah] which deals more specifically with the law itself. The third term, “reproof” (8433b) includes the idea of discussing or arguing about what is right or wrong.
So? You start with the word, move to the law and then sharpen the truth you find. This will give you a blueprint for living well. All it takes is some focus and effort, and of course the grace of God working through the Holy Spirit.
Sunday, June 5, 2022
(Pro 5:14 KJV) I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
This is a word of testimony. I think it might also be a word for those of us who are not going through this struggle. It occurred to me that one way I might spend the quiet moments on Sunday morning would to be looking around and asking myself if anyone I see is going through this kind of moment. Or perhaps there are people who should be going through this kind of moment. Maybe we should work to have some quiet time instead of socializing before the service starts.
So? It would be good for me to get to church a little early, sit down and pray for those who might be sitting around me. I might have a specific target but usually I will have no idea of the masquerading that is going on. God does not have that limitation.
Saturday, June 4, 2022
(Pro 4:19 KJV) The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Recently I watched a short video of this principle in action. A young woman went to walk through a door and alas, it was not a door. It was a pane of glass. After rebounding and rubbing her nose she took two steps to the left and tried to go through the door again. Alas, again it was a pane of glass. I think she finally found the actual door on the fourth try.
Notice that this does not say that evil is “darkness” (653) but is “as” darkness. In this case the problem was crystal clear. The problem was in the mind of the walker. She could be forgiven for the first error. I imagine we have all done it. The real error comes when she did not learn and put a hand out to check the next panel.
So? The difference between those who are genuinely evil and those who simply have a bad day is that the person seeking to live a righteous life can learn from his mistakes and get on with the task at hand. The evil continue on their path in spite of running into doors. It is often not a problem of vision but attitude.
Friday, June 3, 2022
(Pro 3:28 KJV) Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
The word for the day is “timing”. One of my favorite words is “tomorrow” (4279). What I like about it is not the definite limitations of the next day, which is the most common translation, but the part that means “time to come”. In other words, tomorrow never comes. I am sure you have heard that.
The direction given to us here is “now”. The context here is helping someone in need but the principle is sound. One of my big sins is procrastination. I don’t think I am alone in that.
So? Today. How nefarious that sounds. Now. That is even worse. It is still an idea who’s time has come.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
(Pro 2:1 KJV) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
How do we “receive” (3947) the wisdom that God wants us to have? It would be great if there was some form of spiritual osmosis in which we could set a Bible on the table by our recliner and while be take a nap all that glorious truth slips into our minds. How about the ability to sit in church “listening” to a sermon while our minds were on where to go for lunch and by some mystical process our soul was enriched with truth. I could go for a glory pill that, taken once a day, would enrich my understanding of the things of God.
It will never happen.
So? If you want to receive what God is offering you have to really listen and engage. The promise is there. So is the demand.
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
The Second Edge
(Pro 1:11 KJV) If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
The final phrase of this verse is a double edged sword. Unfortunately the translations only seem to bring out one edge, the question of whether the person attacked deserved it or not. That in itself is significant. It is one reason we are told in the Sermon on the Mount to turn the other cheek. We are not to rush into things like retaliation.
But there is another aspect to this. The closest translation I could find in my software to my point was the International Standard Version,
(Pro 1:11 ISV) If they say, "Come with us! Let's lie in wait for blood; let's ambush some innocent person for no reason at all.The element missing is doing things without thinking through the goal you have in life. Thus when we have a slick salesman who gets us to buy something we often don’t seriously ask ourselves, “Do I really need this?” Often we buy things we have no real use for or that we would admit we will never use if we were honest. Think of all the unused items in your garage and closets, or things you only used once.
So? In addition to being kind to strangers this is also a call to stewardship. Both are common problems in life.