(Pro 31:31 KJV) Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I find it very freeing to accept the understanding that I am not responsible for the choices other people make. I can influence them. I can overrule their decisions. That is common when dealing with children, but what about a spouse. Here it refers to a man’s wife. It is wonderful when you live in harmony. God intended intimacy on all levels. Sometimes that does not work out. Sometimes it does.
One of the important principles is to let people shine in their moment. When your wife, or husband, has a good moment, let them bask in it. Let the public know and let them respond.
So? Keep in mind that love is not about you but about others. Help them rejoice in their special moments.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
(Pro 31:31 KJV) Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
(Pro 30:17 KJV) The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
This is a verse that causes me pain. It isn’t my children but the children of other people. I know them and so do you. Perhaps you experience it. The children are often subtle in how they belittle parents. There are many ways to pat a parent on the head without being obvious. With the watering down of the Bible in our churches it is getting more and more common for children to be condescending toward their parents’ faith and practice.
It is going to happen. It may be too late to prevent it but it is never too late to begin changing what contribution you may have made. Make sure you are genuine and faithful. Be consistent. Read I
Corinthians 13 and focus on things like not being provoked. If may be that their love fails but don’t let yours.
So? Your kids don’t have to straighten up before you die, just before they do. Not very uplifting but sometimes it is all we have to cling to.
Monday, August 29, 2022
(Pro 29:16 KJV) When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
I sometimes wonder which came first, the sin or the power of the sinners. In the case of the chicken and the egg I have an answer but with this cycle I don’t know. And in reality it doesn’t matter. The correlation is there and we know it. One bit of hope that is offered here. We will see their “fall” (4658). If we don’t, then our children will.
It always seems like the bad times will just keep rolling. It seems like we can do little to change what is going on. That is probably true but God is still in charge. He will eventually reign in the evil doers, for our sake if not just general retribution.
So? Hang in there. Be one of the faithful remnant. It is called living by faith.
Sunday, August 28, 2022
(Pro 28:28 KJV) When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
In Sunday School some of the people were commenting on how different our society is today. We all remembered being children and feeling free to run around the neighborhood. I used to ride my bike all the way down town and all over without a second thought. Not so today. One of the differences is that the people running things seem to have sold their souls to the devil. Not only to they deny any Christian faith but they mock those who stand up for morality.
So? Accept the fact that it is time to keep our heads down. Keep the children in sight and make sure the doors are locked. Pray for a return of righteous leaders.
Saturday, August 27, 2022
(Pro 27:3 KJV) A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.
What is it that makes this “wrath” (provocation NASB) (3708a) so hard to deal with? Is it a problem in us? Is it the persistence of the fool? Is it something that no one can control? Is it a natural response? Perhaps it is the misused creativity.
One thing is sure. There are certain people who like to push your buttons. On a rock you might stub your toe if you are not paying attention. A fool waits and watches.
So? Expect it. Many times it is the same fool as last time. Although you need to make sure that all your candy bars are locked up out of sight you still need to learn to express agape.
Friday, August 26, 2022
(Pro 26:8 KJV) As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.
One of the questions I have when interpreting the parables of Jesus is, “Did He see this or did He make it up to get across a point?” It probably doesn’t make any difference in the point of the parable. We run across that question in this series of Proverbs. Did Solomon actually see someone do this or was he just being creative?
Think about some of the stupid things you have seem people do. Even better, think of some of the dumb actions you have demonstrated. We are surrounded by people who refuse to think. That would be okay if they were peasants in the middle ages and what they thought didn’t have much influence. Today we are looking at people in positions of responsibility, leaders and a lot of voters who basically bind the stone in their sling.
So? Don’t be one of them. Turn your mind back on. Read something that can get the juices flowing. Make part of the reading the word of God. Be careful whom you honor.
Thursday, August 25, 2022
(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.
If you look up the word “contentious” (brawling KJV) (4066) you find that it appears five times in Proverbs and four of them refer to women. So there. That is a good place to stop but I don’t do my word studies by the English word. I use the number from Strong’s numbering system. I should have quit when I was ahead. As I looked at the other twelve times it shows up in Proverbs I notice that only once is it specifically a woman. The rest it is either generic or refers to men.
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
So? A major spiritual victory is when we come to the place where we apply the lesson of the Bible to ourselves rather than those around us. On to victory.
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
(Pro 24:31 KJV) And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
When I have the shutters open I can look out the window from my desk and see a stone wall that we have going across part of our property. It has a lot in common with the kind that Proverbs is talking about. It is built without mortar and using local rocks. The kind of wall he is talking about was dual purpose. The walls marked the edge of the property. They also served as a dump for rocks gathered from the fields.
What I never realized is that rock walls fall down by themselves. Well, maybe not totally but they do it without human assistance. I imagine that animals are responsible for most of what I see. Every once in awhile I will go out and replace a rock.
In this verse it seems that the plants are the destroyers. If you have ever observed the world around you, somewhere you have seen grass growing out of cracks. You may have seen trees that seem to be growing out of rocks. Unless a human steps in to remove the living material it will eventually destroy the solid concrete.
So? Regular maintenance is part of our spiritual walk. Weeds can destroy solid structures just as a lack of weeding can disrupt a soul.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
(Pro 23:12 KJV) Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
This is for you. Yes, you. Okay. This is for me. I am at a point in life where I am not invested in gaining new knowledge or skills. That makes me hard to live with at times. It also can make me a pain in the neck at church. What does the pastor have to say that I could possibly need to hear? Maybe a sermon on pride and arrogance would come in handy.
I gave up looking for the perfect church and found one that meets what is really important. Part of my place is to listen and be open to what the Holy Spirit might want to say to me. It may not correspond with the words but it can still reach the heart and mind.
So? Get in the habit of listening with both your ears and your spirit. If you are at church listen with your Bible open.
Monday, August 22, 2022
(Pro 22:7 KJV) The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
The tricky point of this verse is that many people feel they borrow only because they must. I would accept that is true in some cases but also false in some cases. The big question comes back in what I always threw at my son, “Is it a want, or a need?” We are not always qualified to tell the difference.
Think of things that we accept as necessary today: Air conditioning, a car, a single family house, vacations, dishwashers. The list can become endless. Now ask yourself how many of them were common in your grandfathers’ time. How about your great-grandfather? It is amazing what people lived without in ancient times, like 1950.
So? Make sure that what you are buying is really necessary. Necessity won’t void the concern of this verse but might help us stay away from a lot of pain and sorrow.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
(Pro 21:21 KJV) He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
I have noticed that I tend to get a lot less in the way of speeding tickets than my wife. That is based on one genuine difference. She speeds and I don’t. In reality it goes even deeper than that. I try to be aware of the speed limits and keep checking my speedometer. Because of that I don’t need to slow down when I see a cop car. I don’t think she ever looks at that dial unless she is wanting to gloat about what she is getting away with.
I realize that you can’t build a case for my “righteousness” based on such a thing but I think that the principle is part of what Solomon is going with in this verse. I came across this line in The Screwtape Letters,
“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.” page 50Lewis was using it in the negative sense but the concept is worth thinking about.
So? Keep your goal in mind when you decide how to act.
Lewis, C.S. The Screwtape Letters. Norwalk, Connecticut: The Easton Press, 2002.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
(Pro 20:11 KJV) Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
I am in that grandparent stage. It is full of delight and joy. It is also full of concern and fear. I watch the antics and wonder how it will work out in the long run. My granddaughter shares an animal cookie with me. You know the kind, fully frosted. My grandson is unwilling to let me have one of his cheese crackers. Has destiny been determined already? It is basic character? Is it just a passing fad?
We all know children that we have watched growing up and we could see the tragedy long before the parents. I think of a slothful mother we worked with who had one goal in life, to get her son on a drug to slow him down. The problem was not in the child but in the mother. The one who will have a life ruined is really two.
So? Work on your own character. If you have grandchildren or young ones of your own, realize that it is important how you raise them. Blessings.
Friday, August 19, 2022
(Pro 19:8 KJV) He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
How often results vary. You see that on medications and recipes. I know that my coffee seems to come out different on different days. Currently I am experiencing a change in my oatmeal. I measure the same way, set the timer the same, set the stove the same and have the same attitude. It is still coming out different.
In oatmeal that is just a curiosity. When it comes to the important things of life there is a word here that we need to note, “keep” (8104). This is not the casual matter of putting something on the right shelf. You have seen the instructions to keep out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. This is more a matter of applied guard duty. It means staying alert.
So? When I am making pudding an ounce of milk will not make much difference. 2% instead of non-fat will still make the desired result. When it comes to our spiritual walk a 2% variation over a lifetime can spell disaster. Stay alert.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
(Pro 18:4 KJV) The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
We often assume that when people speak they are trying to communicate. I guess the big question is “What are they trying to communicate?” We all know people who parse their words very carefully so that you get the impression they want but if you take the time you realize that it does not really mean what you thought you heard. Even at the best of times our words can be confusing. It is even worse when the intent is to deceive.
On the other hand, “wisdom” (2451) has clarity. Again, you may not want to hear it. You may deliberately not understand. In spite of that, truth is within your grasp.
So? As is so often the case, much of our understanding relies on our attitude. We need to want to hear. How often have you heard people say, “I don’t understand”? You know they do but they don’t want to admit it. Our responsibility is to speak truth, which means wisdom.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
(Pro 17:7 KJV) Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
One of the joys of grandchildren, and children I guess, is the process of language development. Our youngest is at the stage where he substitutes sounds that are easy to say for harder words. It is hard to tell the difference between “meow” for cat and something screeched out that represents a fire engine. The older one is attempting to use big words even when she doesn’t know what they mean.
With children it is fun. If we go either way it can get embarrassing.
So? Let your speech be simple. If we try to impress we might succeed but not the way we intended.
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
(Pro 16:19 KJV) Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
I have been catching up on a lot of the reading I should have done in college. Among other things I am about a third of the way through The Gulag Archipelago. This verse reflects the observations of how Communism works in a couple of ways. It is almost like Solomon had been reading the same book. One of my questions was who survived under the purges. It seems that it was only those who kept there heads down and did not stand out, although even those people were often in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second part of the verse illustrates the way in which the Soviet persecutors of one time period often ended up on the work gangs eventually.
That is just an illustration of how life works. We are to live humbly, not because we are afraid of political ramifications but because it is the right thing to do.
So? Godliness is our goal, not dominance.
Monday, August 15, 2022
(Pro 15:1 KJV) A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
This is another of those Biblical statements that we want to refer to as laws but are really principles. Does it always work to speak softly? I will let you answer from your experience. Is it possible to generate anger by our words? Obviously.
So? We have a principle for our daily living. It applies at home and abroad. It will often go against the tide. Over the long run it will make life better for everyone.
Sunday, August 14, 2022
(Pro 14:9 KJV) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
And the word for the day is...,drum roll, please,... “sin” (817). I didn’t expect you to like it. I would guess that many of you have not heard this word in a long time, at least not as the Bible uses it. This word for sin has the idea of guilt. It refers to the residual effect of disobedience and rebellion against God. We need to understand there are consequences both short, long term and eternal.
So? Take sin seriously. Don’t get into the camouflage of a hard childhood or poverty. They exist but they won’t do for excuses when we stand before the judgement seat.
Saturday, August 13, 2022
(Pro 13:6 KJV) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
You would think that a “sinner” (2403b) was already in a bad way. He is, but it is one of those conditions that can always get worse. Notice the word “wickedness” (7564). My first reading thought this was describing the condition of the heart but it seems to refer more to the actions produced by the lack of moral character. Behavior based in rebellion and rejection will push the lives of the sinner even deeper into disaster.
So? Behavior makes a difference. We cannot bootstrap ourselves into salvation by following the law but the point of grace and regeneration is to produce lives that reflect the change.
Friday, August 12, 2022
(Pro 12:11 KJV) He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
It is too late for me to go back and delete all the “vain” (7386) activities of my life. I am sure that many of them held promise and I might have even pursued them with a righteous motivation. There is no shame in that. Think of all the books that people have recommended to you and delivered nothing. Think of how much more room you might have on your shelves if you got ride of them. I know I have about eight feet of Bible commentaries that I never read. In the times that I have tried them I find that they are mostly full of someone else’s opinions. There are tidbits but it is questionable whether they were worth the investment. At least they look good on the shelf.
What I need to do is ask myself what empty things I am using to fill my day with now. That is the root meaning of “vain”. I am finding that I return books to the library only half read much more often than I did when I was younger. I like to think that is a sign of maturity. It would be even better if I would not check them out.
So? We face daily choices on how to invest the time we have left. Pray for wisdom and obedience as you grow.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
(Pro 11:1 KJV) A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
If you or your children are involved in public education you have been taught the evils of capitalism. I am sure that there are evil capitalists but the economic philosophy is neutral. The list of evil socialists would make the business men look like a freckle on a frog. The problem is in the hearts of the social and economic guru. The call here is for a part of the Biblical concept of justice that is left out of modern definitions. Give a penny’s worth of service for a penny’s worth of purchase. It is called under different names such as honesty, fairness, and modern terms such as transparency. It is the bedrock of how we treat each other. It is part of the Godly life.
So? Maybe an even better terms is integrity. Live that way. Bring glory to God and yourself to eternity.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
(Pro 10:18 KJV) He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Consider cause and effect. What causes what? One way to approach this is to say that the actions being taken here are the things that make you a “fool” (3684). Another way is to say that the ways you can identify a fool are by observing these actions. It is probably one of those both/and situations or one of the cycles of life that make things worse or better.
So? A fool and a wise man are opposite poles. Keep in mind the things that lead us to wisdom such as fear of the Lord and make sure you are at the right junction.
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
(Pro 9:18 KJV) But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
I often wonder how people cannot “know” (3045). Here we are talking about the wages of sin. Because this is Proverbs we can assume that this young man is Jewish and knows at least the Ten Commandments. The woman knows also. And yet they do not “know”. I think that the key is in the Hebrew word yada. It is the word that is used for deep knowing, understanding, in a sense accepting the truth in what you know. Look at the people claiming that burning down American cities is “mostly peaceful”. Do they know better? Yes. The problem is their knowing is rooting in what they want to see, not in what they know.
So? Don’t let your desires influence how you see truth. You can think you are Superman all you want but I would advise not jumping out of windows even at ground level. God knows our minds and hearts and He is not amused. You see He also knows the law of gravity. He wrote it.
Monday, August 8, 2022
(Pro 8:8 KJV) All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
“Righteousness” (6664) and wisdom go hand in hand. We should keep this in mind when we pick up self-help books by pagans. If what they have to say is of any long term use then they need to at least acknowledge the standards of the Bible even if they are not followers of Jesus. If there foundational knowledge is connected with the Bible then it is possible that their creativity and intelligence can be of use to us.
Often it is not possible to know where an author is coming from when we begin to read. This is where our immersion in the word is so important. Being familiar with what God has said is the only way to judge whether someone’s hypothesis will hold water or be a sieve.
So? Be alert. Be discerning. Go forth and prevail in righteousness.
Sunday, August 7, 2022
(Pro 7:1 KJV) My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
The translations tend to make this process one of external application and internal storage. That is a good point but I am not sure it covers all the bases. We have two verbs, “Keep” (8104) and “lay up” (treasure NASB) (6845). Those are legitimate translations. Let me suggest a couple of others: Guard and hide. These are both internal.
If we are going to live righteous lives then we must prepare our inner man. Straight actions require a solid foundation of truth. This is even more true today as we find we can’t believe most of what we hear. One reason I attend the church I do is because the pastor speaks truth. It comes from a high view of the Bible and an internalizing.
So? It won’t happen over night. Remember the nights you spent cramming for a test the next day. It may have worked for the test but as soon as you turned it in the knowledge fled. That is not the way an upright life is lived. Make study a part of your worship. Guard and hide.
Saturday, August 6, 2022
(Pro 6:26 KJV) For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
As we look around we often would want to argue with the idea that sin ruins us financially. All you need to do is look at the celebrities and politicians that are awash with affluence, or so it seems. Beware of looking at the salient personalities of our world. If you look at them you would also think that they represent the physical perfection we should strive for but wait until you see them without make-up and no photo-shopping. Their money also does not guarantee that they will be satisfied with how things are going.
Take a moment and look at what they are going through in the gossip columns. Would you really want to be Johnny Depp? How about Elvis? Would you really want children of the quality that most presidents experience? You could make an unending list because there would always be names added to it.
So? Count your blessings. If that means you can live on your income then be glad. It if means that your children are a source of satisfaction, rejoice.
Friday, August 5, 2022
(Pro 5:20 KJV) And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
One of the attractions of the Jewish religion had to be their view of marriage, sex and women. In the previous verse and this one you have a good summary. Enjoy within boundaries that involve righteousness and concern for the other person. If you know much about the pagan world of the past you know that women did not have a lot of security beyond what was provided by the men they came in contact with. There were noble ideas expressed. There were heart warming examples of love and fidelity. They were not reinforced by popular culture.
We are returning to those days. The days of the sexual revolution and abortion on demand have made women a commodity to be used and cast aside. Although the Christian church seems to be following our culture in the area of divorce and abortion the cultural leaders are much more casual about their serial marriages and killing of babies. It is considered newsworthy when it is noted that a celebrity has been married for 40 years without cheating. It always amazed me as a middle school teacher when I would tell kids I had been married 40 years their eyes got big and all they could say was, “Wow.”
So? We have an example to set. We have a standard to keep. We have a Savior who gives us the power. Be a world changer.
Thursday, August 4, 2022
(Pro 4:21 KJV) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
We have an immediate direction here as well as one that should have been dealt with long ago. Today I want to look at the task for today, daily focus. We are used to the concept of calibration. My kids gave me a droid a few years ago. I have not done it justice. One of the steps I learned was necessary dealt with calibration. You needed to get everything pointing the right direction and at the right power setting for it to work. If you joy is crashing, and I am sure there are some that enjoy that, then just turn it on and go for it.
I want to get beyond crashing in my spiritual life. I don’t want the theater that comes with a life of futility and frustration. I want to know the joy of the Lord. That means I need to calibrate on a daily basis. Actually it is a constant need.
So? It is why I finally decided to start my day focused on praise and thanksgiving. It gets me pointed in the right direction.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
(Pro 3:30 KJV) Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
We wear our feelings on out sleeve. We have thin skins. We have buttons that can be pushed. Admit it but don’t live with it. The call for us is to rise above all that. I think it is implied that there are times to “strive” (contend NASB) (7378) but the implication is overshadowed by the command.
There is a attitude involved here. We tend to look to hard and too long for justification for our response. We are too willing to find a reason. The spirit of this is to stop looking, shrug your shoulders and get on with life.
So? Yes, you. And of course, me. This is not an expectation we have for the other guy but the standard God has for us.
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
(Pro 2:5 KJV) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
I am finding today that I need to be reminded of the “fear” (3374) of the “Lord” (3068) [yhvh]. There are so many currents that can knock me off course. I can find an excuse in almost anything. Distraction is almost a spiritual gift. This morning I had been disrupted to the point of petrification. I worked myself back into motion and as soon as I started to write the catalyst for entropy hit again.
What to do. I guess I need to develop the automatic ability to reboot. That sounds good but I have no more tendency to a reboot response than my computer does. It needs to be a choice and it can only be developed by choosing.
So? Time to man up and put the child aside. I keep going believing that eventually God will either give me victory over the response or the power to get moving again.
Monday, August 1, 2022
(Pro 1:3 KJV) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
Be aware that you are constantly being given “instruction” (4148). You may not even be aware of it. We might call it “indoctrination” or “brainwashing”. It happens every time you turn on an electronic device or open printed material. We are being conditioned on what looks good. We are told what foods are really nutritional. We are made to feel guilty about having a moral position.
The point of Proverbs is to prepare ourselves to decide what we want to learn. We are responsible for our character. Yes, our parents and family gave us a start, but there come a time when we begin to make decisions on our own.
So? Make sure that you have a standard to measure with. The sliding scale of society will do nothing but lead you to disaster. It can come in this life. It will come in eternity. Seek wisdom.