An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Parallels

(Psa 36:4 KJV)  He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

Here is a thought that runs parallel to what Proverbs says, some people cannot even sleep well unless they are planning and implementing evil.  It is hard to tell how many people are this way.  I have no idea if it is an attitude that develops or it was their default.  It is still a reality.

Many of us are really good at going the extra mile and giving another chance.  I tend to have none of the gift of mercy so I understand this verse better than some.  I need to work on my sensitivity.  You may need to work on your discernment.

So?  Be alert.  Be aware.  As we demonstrate patience and kindness don’t fall asleep.

Monday, April 15, 2024

God’s Culture

(Psa 34:2 KJV)  My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

It is interesting that in this verse the “soul” (5315) is referred to as feminine.  That comes through in the KJV but not in the NASB.  We don’t personally struggle much with the difficulty of translating things from different languages.  We don’t take into consideration all the nuances that there are.  If we wanted to be shallow, we could simply say from this, that our souls are feminine, and we could go further and talk about the fact that there is a feminine mystique in each of us.

Don’t manipulate scripture that way.  While we need to take our current situation into consideration, we don’t want to force a square into a circle.  The words and tenses are usually there for a purpose.

So?  Let the Bible lay God’s culture on you.  Don’t make it fit your prejudices. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Schedules Reflect Priorities

(Pro 14:7 KJV)  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

The second half of this verse is a bit different in the KJV and NASB.  I read it this morning in the NASB and there is seems to say that I will not be able to “discern” (3045) [yada] truth when I am in the “presence” (5048) of a “fool” (3684).  My thoughts went to the many situations I might be in where the presence of others keeps me from hearing the voice of God.  There are many.  Some are just a part of life such as having young children in the home.  Others are totally avoidable.  You don’t really need to attend that basketball game.

The point being made here is that we have to make intelligent, moral choices.  We need to decide if we want to hear the voice of God or whether that is second tier.  If it is a priority we need to seek time when we can listen.  It may be only a small slice.  It may be inconvenient.  It is still necessary.

So?  God wants to speak.  He wants us to hear.  He is doing His part.  We need to do ours.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Scaring away Fear

(Psa 34:7 KJV)  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

This is the second reference I have come across to the concept of guardian angels.  I don’t know how many times I have read this without seeing that.  How encouraging.  Just this morning I was thinking about eternity and being in the presence of the trinity.  It then hit me that my guardian angel would also be there.  I plan to shake his hand, assuming he has one.  It is good to remember and thank him for his service.

Keep in mind that the qualification is to fear the Lord.  It is also interesting that just about every time an angel appears the first words are, “Fear not.”

So?  Fear not the angel because he is an agent of keeping you from having a reason to fear.

Friday, April 12, 2024

I Heard that Somewhere

Psalms 37:11 (KJV) But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Does this verse sound familiar?  It should.  Jesus was a plagiarist.  He quotes this in the Sermon on the Mount.  The “meek” (humble NASB) (6035) here must be the meek of the KJV Matthew 5:5.  It is amazing how often things that we associate with the New Testament are found in the Old.  There is a reason for that.  They are a continuum.  The basic truth are the same.  God is the same.  One promises and the other fulfills.  

So?  Read the whole thing with a memory for what you have already seen. 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

It Will Make a Difference

(Pro 11:6 KJV)  The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

Every time I pay attention to what is happening in our country I feel like God is readying His sword to give us a thrashing.  I don’t know if it will be the edge or the flat of the sword He will use but it is coming.  This verse reminds us that it makes a difference how we live.  Let’s not spend a lot of time debating whether we can be “righteous” (6666) or not.  That does not seem to be open to debate in this passage.  The theme we read again and again in Proverbs is that some people deliberately choose to be straight and some make a decision to be crooked.  God will treat both groups differently.

So?  Keep in mind that in the midst of every social upheaval there are people who come through it.  This is saying that God will have His eye out for those who are seeking to live in obedience.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Embrace

Psalms 119:77 (KJV) Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law [is] my delight.

(Proverbs 10 also read)

As I continue to look into the different view of the law that David has compared to Paul, I keep coming across verses like this.  Here, David is comparing the law to God’s tender mercies.  He is saying that it his delight.

We have to accept what Paul says, as inspired scripture.  In the same spirit, we have to accept what David says as inspired scripture.  We have to come to an understanding of how God is trying to make us see both.

God’s law can be a straight jacket if understood incorrectly.  It can be a life jacket if we embrace it in truth.

So?  Embrace. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Jettison

(Pro 9:6 KJV)  Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Isn’t this where it gets difficult?  One reason that death-bed conversions are so sought after is that they don’t require you to “forsake” (5800a).  One reason that so many fall away from the faith is this idea of giving up that which we prefer to cling to.  I wonder if one reason why so many complete the narrow road is because they are carrying so much wide baggage that they can’t get through the tunnels and overpasses without giving something up.  I always enjoy those videos that show a truck speeding under a low overpass and leaving much behind.  When it comes to salvation it isn’t so funny.  In both cases the warning are clear.

So?  Be alert for the urging of the Holy Spirit to jettison some cargo or abandon a habit.  Sometimes God can miraculously remove burdens.  Sometimes it is up to you.  Pay attention. 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Biblical Balance

(Pro 8:18 KJV)  Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

There is a balance in the Bible that is worth noting.  It is dangerous to cherry pick favorite verses without considering the context and the total message.  If you only considered this verse you would think that the message is “Wisdom will make you rich.”  Not in the way that most people mean that.  The key word here is “enduring” (6276).  You need to read the surrounding comments to get the drift.

It is the insights and the righteous living that comes from those insights that are the “riches” (6239) being promised.  Will that generate what the world thinks of as riches?  There is a good chance of that up to a point.  That point is the balance I am talking about.  There are too extremes.  One is great wealth with little wisdom.  The other is great wisdom and starving to death.  Neither one is the Biblical balance.  

So?  Seek God’s wisdom.  Apply it in your daily life.  Part of that wisdom is working hard and being a good steward.  It will give a combination that brings the really good things of life into your sphere and allows God to bless you. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Messianic or Mystery

(Psa 22:16 KJV)  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

(Proverbs 7 also read)

The first verse of this Psalm brings to mind the words Jesus on the cross.  That helps to get us in a frame of mind to sit up and take notice of this verse.  To us this seems to refer to nailing Jesus to the cross.  I wonder what the ancient Jews thought of it.  I don’t see any way it could apply to David himself.  Did they see it as Messianic or was it just a mystery.

So?  There are many little statements in the Old Testament that point to Jesus.  Keep your eyes open as you read and be filled with wonder. 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Routine Attitudes

(Psa 20:3 KJV)  Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

(Proverbs 6 also read)

When you compare this in the King James Version with a New American Standard version you get the impression that all sacrifices are not necessarily acceptable.  In other words, the ritual is not the point.  It is just a heart condition.  You see this repeated regularly in the Bible.  Yes, there are rituals.  In the OT at least, they are to be followed.  Then there is that big “but”, it must be done with the right attitude.  

You could take the sacrifices of Cain and Abel as examples.  One was accepted, the other was rejected.  You have the comparison of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:10.  Think of Simeon wanting the buy the Holy Spirit.  None of those endorse empty rituals.

The law is not a magic chant.  It is not a mystical elixir.  It is not a vending machine.  It is a way in which a living God reaches out to living humans and expects them to embrace it with love and devotion.

So?  Don’t use this as an excuse to sleep in on Sunday morning or not be a steward of your resources.  That is another extreme that can be just as dangerous.  Do the right things with the right attitude.  It is a great combination.

Friday, April 5, 2024

A Cosmic Bic

(Psa 18:28 KJV)  For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

(Proverbs 5 also read)

Notice that the NASB has “lamp” (5216) and the KJV has “candle”.  The NASB is probably more accurate but the KJV is more poetic.  Candles were historically expensive.  They would have been used in the palace of King James.  They might have had some use by David, but lamps were much more inexpensive to use.  They were powered by olive oil while candles needed bee’s wax.

Today I was stirred by the picture of God lighting my candle.  If you follow on the picture becomes even more uplifting.  I don’t know about you but I often need my candle lit.  That is why I have, in my old age, developed a routine that sets aside the morning for greeting the sun and the Son.

So?  God wants to “light up your life” as the popular song goes.  He has more than romance in mind.  He wants to make you a light that is not hid under a bushel.  Because of the drafty times we live in that means constantly relighting.  Think of Him as a Cosmic Bic. 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Promise of Abiding

(Psa 15:1 KJV)  A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

(Proverbs 4 also read)

Picture the historical setting.  The temple is not yet built but I assume that Mount Zion has been selected.  Worship is still centered around the Tabernacle or “tent” (168) as the NASB has it.  The NASB always translates it “tent”, the KJV uses “tabernacle” about half the time.  I assume that is when it refers to the specific tent assembled for worship and the presence of the Ark.

Even at this point in time we have the concept of abiding in the presence of God.  Jesus uses the concept in John 15.  The Greek word has a similar meaning and the teaching is the same.  We are offered the glorious chance to live in the presence of Almighty God.  It does not happen automatically.  Read the rest of this chapter in Proverbs.  There will be no surprises.  God expects us to want to live righteous lives.

So?  He has reached out.  If we trust in Jesus then we are given the Holy Spirit to enable us to continue the work of being upright.  Make the blessing real in your life. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Time for Ouch

(Pro 3:3 KJV)  Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

“Mercy” (kindness NASB) (2617a) [chesed] and “truth” (571) go together in a way that might not occur to us at first reading.  We usually associate kindness with going easy on someone.  We make allowances for their weaknesses and ignorance.  We hope to win them with kindness.  I am sure there is a place for that but the opposite is also true.  Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for someone is tell the the clear, unvarnished truth.  It can be painful.  It can cause rejection.  It is still necessary.

This is why “lovingkindness” is the best translation for this word.  It is better than mercy or simple kindness.  It points out that our mercy must be tempered by a love that sees eternity and realizes how close it is.

So?  Seek to know which kind of truth you need to give.  It can be a hard choice.  Ask yourself if you will be sorry how you decided.  Always be praying for guidance. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Heads You Win

(Pro 2:5 KJV)  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
(Pro 2:6 KJV)  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.


These two verses remind us of the fact that we are supposed to believe what the Bible teaches, not a theology book.  The book may be basically true.  It is possible that each statement by itself is accurate.  It is still possible to miss the whole point.  We see here the demand that we seek, which is a form of work.  We then see that the result is that God “gives” (5414).  Both are necessary.

If you had a coin and looked at one side you might see the “heads”.  You might not think about it but all coins have another side.  If you turn it over and it is still “heads” you know that something is rotten in Denmark, or at least in the theology of the “solas” as it is usually taught.  God demands obedience and makes the choice to extend His grace.  We have to fit them together.

So?  Go back and sing the song “Trust and Obey” a few times.  Let God speak to you about the upright living He expects and bless you with the exercise of His sovereignty. 

Monday, April 1, 2024

April Trust Day

(Psa 13:5 KJV)  But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

(Proverbs 1 also read)

How is your day going?  Is it too early to know?  David was having a bad one.  I don’t find that surprising.  His days of struggle came often even though he was a man after God’s own heart.  Since none of us come closer to that title than David, it would seem that his struggles tell us we can expect to struggle too.

There is that in this chapter.  

Never forget to read verse 5 after the first four.  Here is where David shows how he is a man after God’s own heart.  Notice he did not call on the law or any of the great things he had done.  What he called on was God’s “lovingkindness” (2617a) [chesed].  You have heard me carrying on about this word before.  Don’t ever forget it.  It is why we can “rejoice” (1523).

So?  Good day?  Bad day?  God is there for both of them and will get you through. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Work Ethic

(Pro 31:23 KJV)  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Every time I read this verse I wonder what this man does for a living.  It does not say he is a rabbi.  My understanding is that a rabbi was required to have a trade, for instance, the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker.  Jesus, often called “Rabbi”, was also called the Carpenter.  So what does this guy do nine to five?  It doesn’t say.

This is not an excuse to sit back and let our wives support the family.  The way it works in an ideal world is that the husband works a job and the wife generates income from the home world she maintains.  There would be many variations but there is not place for standing on street corners or eating bon-bons all day.

So?  Get to work, even if it is a minimum wage position. 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Trust the Shield

(Pro 30:5 KJV)  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Many, if not most, people would agree that we live in times of trouble and cultural decline.  We are seeing riots called peaceful protests.  We watch people whose major crime is trespass being locked up for years without even a hearing.  We don’t know if we can trust the police or the courts.  The educational systems are turning out young people who cannot think.  There are wars and rumors of wars.

Where do we turn?  The same place we always were to turn, to the Lord.  

God is to be our “shield” (4043).  This is not a promise that we will not go through trials.  It does not mean we will face no persecution.  It is a declaration that God will be between us and the forces of destruction.  Keep in mind that God may be the source of the destruction.  The Bible is full of warnings that God will purge Israel.  Why would that not apply to us as well?

So?  Keeping trusting.  God is on the job and still in charge.  Lock your door.  Avoid dark alleys.  Use common sense.  Don’t fixate on the negative.  Don’t get consumed with worry. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Target Practice

(Psa 11:2 KJV)  For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

(Proverbs 29 also read)

Again I remind you, “Yes, they are out to get you.”  David may have been in a low mood.  He may have been clinically depressed.  He is not exaggerating.  There is something about the righteous that brings out the desire to destroy in the “wicked” (7563).  It isn’t even something you have done.  It is what you are.  Think about a bunch of boys walking past a deserted house that still doesn’t have all the windows broken out.  There is just something about it.

We are in difficult times but even if we were not this would still be true.  One of the hard parts of this truth is that these people may be a part of your family or church.  Notice they are working in “darkness” (652).

So?  Know they are out there.  Know that God is watching over you.  That does not mean you go down dark alleys or leave your doors unlocked.  It means you can sleep better and expect the final chapter to have a happy ending, at least for you. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Embrace Your Calling

(Psa 8:6 KJV)  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

(Proverbs 28 also read)

This is a verse that looks both ways.  It looks back to creation and the place of man in that creation.  It looks forward to the book of Hebrews which revisits it.  Either way we are reminded that we are not just a cipher in the universe.  We are charged with making sure that the universe can develop to its full potential.

Don’t fall into the modern trap of evolutionary thinking.  We are not just the latest blip of chance.  We are created in the image of God and are expected to fulfill that calling.  The Fall introduced sin and clouded the vision but Jesus has come to set us free and get us back on track.

So?  Embrace your calling and make a difference in your world.  You may not be able to redeem the inner city but you can certainly make your neighborhood a place that has a spot of glory. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

According to Need

(Psa 9:18 KJV)  For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

(Proverbs. 27 also read)

There are two assumptions made in this verse.  The first is the obvious one that jumps out, the promise.  The promise is the expectation that God is going to come to the assistance of those who are “needy” (34).  When we read other places we can see that sometimes the aid will be in this life, sometimes in the next, but it will come.

It is a promise.

The second assumption that is there, but hid from me at first, is that David was well aware that there were a lot of people needing to hear this promise.  I think it may be that David himself felt like he was in that category.  I tend to think of David sitting on a throne with servants and a lot of bowing a scraping going on.  He was a man after God’s own heart.  He was on top of the world.

He still considered himself needy.

So?  Do you feel needy?  You are in good company.  Do you not feel needy?  Be grateful and realize you are one of the few who are getting it right. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Salty Listening

(Pro 26:12 KJV)  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

My mind was already dwelling on this verse this morning but a conversation with my wife reinforced the message.  In between being regaled with the life stories of people I don’t even know I was informed that my comments were totally off base because I did not know what I was talking about.  In one sense she was totally right.  We were discussing kidney dialysis and I have never gone through it.  In a deeper sense she was to be listened to because it is very easy for me to assume I am right, I have correct information or I am smarter than the average bear.

None of which might be true.  Of course there is always the possibility that all are true but that goes against the warning given here.  

So?  It doesn’t hurt to take what you say with a grain of salt.  The other person will be using a whole spoon full.  This is humility we are talking about.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Lighten Up

(Col 1:13 KJV)  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

(Proverbs 25 also read)

I was looking for the passage that talks about Jesus holding the universe together and as I was reading up to it I came across this thought.  We have been “delivered” (4506) from “darkness” (4655).  The previous verse talks about us being “saints in light” .  Think a moment about the statement that God is light.  

We are redeemed so that we can live in the eternal light of God Himself.  What a calling.  What an honor.  What an impossible task.  Yet it is given to us.

So?  Live in the light.  That does not mean leave all your lightbulbs burning all night.  It means to live in righteousness.  We are to be light in a dark world and we can do that as we allow Jesus to shine through ut. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Impossible Dream

(Psa 4:4 KJV)  Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

(Proverbs 24 also read)

Would God command us to do something that is impossible?  I would think the answer is, “No.”  If that is the case they why would He tell us not to “sin” (2398) if we cannot help it?  I would say that the answer is obvious.  Believe your Bible, not your friendly neighborhood theologian.

It does not say it is impossible to sin.  It does not say that you will never sin.  It is simply an admonition to avoid sin.  That is within the range of our actions.  The next verse gets into trusting.  Other verses talk about forgiveness.  It is all here if you keep reading.

So?  Sin not.  Of course, if you do then check out I John 1:9. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

If I Had a Hammer

(Psa 127:1 KJV)  A Song of degrees for Solomon. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

(Proverbs 23 also read)

I find here a statement of grace in the OT.  Christians often label the OT as a book based on works.  There is certainly a lot about obedience and living upright lives.  The Law as Paul saw it is not pushed as much.  Much more common are statements like this.

It is the Lord who “builds” (1129).  It is the Lord who “guards” (8104).  Does that mean people don’t need to pick up a hammer or shovel?  No.  Does this provide an excuse for sleeping on guard duty?  I would not advise trying to use it.

So?  We are to be diligent and obedient.  We are to live righteous lives.  Above all, we are to trust the Lord as we build and guard. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

After the Comma

(Psa 145:18 KJV)  The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

(Proverbs 22 also read)

Notice the promise of this verse.  We like that.  Now notice the condition.  We don’t like that.  Unfortunately one of the realities of the Bible is that God often has conditions.  We like the idea of salvation is a free gift.  We don’t like the verse that says it is given so we will live a life of good works.  

This is not a contemporary issue.  Israel had this same problem.  They liked the idea of being God’s chosen people.  They liked the idea of inheriting the land.  What they didn’t like were the conditions that God kept attaching at the end of the promise.  They got in the habit of just reading the first part of the verse.  

So?  Sometimes the phrase after the comma is the key to the promise.  Keep reading.  Ignoring the rest of the verse will not be a magic potion that makes the spell work.  It will be the hole in the balloon that lets out all the air.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Observation, not Advice

(Pro 21:9 KJV)  It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

It occurred to me as I was reading this that few people would marry someone that met the criteria of being “contentious” (4066).  I said “few” because I am not sure that there are no cases of such a thing.  Most people find themselves in this situation with a bit of surprise.  What happened to the gentle soul they exchanged vows with?  Did the change occur over night or was it an extended metamorphosis?  

What if retreating to a corner of the house isn’t enough?  What if they come looking for you when you are on the front porch?  This is a wonderful observation but doesn’t help much in the real world.  This is where the definition of love comes in.  I am thinking of being long suffering, not being provoked and so forth.  These are the product of the work of the Holy Spirit and grace in our lives.

So?  We cannot expect life to be perfect.  We can expect God to give us the tools to live in victory. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Modesty of Goodness

(Pro 20:6 KJV)  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

I have repeatedly proclaimed my enthusiasm for the Hebrew [chesed].  My favorite translation of it is “lovingkindness”.  It is by far the most common translation in the NASB but a minor one in the KJV.  Here it sneaks in on us with “loyalty” (2617a) in the NASB and “goodness” in the KJV.  It stands out in the Amplified Bible because they use “loving kindness”.  One reason it stands out is it seems so out of place.

There is a bit of insight into the human personality.  This verse proclaims that most of us have a high opinion of ourselves.  We tend to think that we display this kind of character trait.  The way it is used suggests we should walk carefully here.  We are not as noble as we think we are.  In stead this implies that such people are hard to “find” (4672).

So?  A bit of humility is always good.  We are to strive for this kind of attitude.  We are not to claim it.  God will supply it through His grace and our obedience. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Now That’s a Problem

(Pro 19:13 KJV)  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

This verse makes me wonder how often we say, “Why me, Lord?”  Do you know anyone who has children that have lost their anchor and a spouse that was a mistake?  One of the questions people ask has to do with fault.  Was it my fault?  On both cases you might say, “Yes,” you might say, “No”.  It is one of those things that could go both ways and you may never know the answer to the problem.

I would say that the son has more of a chance to be the father’s fault.  While he was born a free agent and will make his own decisions, as a father you have a lot of molding to do.  You also have an example.  Still, at the end of the day he has free will and will exercise it.

The spouse, wife in this example, is a little more complex.  When courting people put forth their best foot.  Think of it as social make up.  If you have ever seen a celebrity without their make-up it can be quite a shock.  People are good at putting their best foot forward.  God promises us the grace to deal with the people in our lives.

So?  I don’t see any blame in this verse.  I do see an awareness of the problems of life.  Follow the standard advice.  Let the past go after you learn from it and begin to build a life of faith and joy.  God will join you on the journey. 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Avoiding “Gotcha”

(Psa 142:3 KJV)  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

(Proverbs 18 also read)

I guess this is saying, “Yes, they are out to get you.”  Maybe you have never felt that way but this indicates that there are people who are preparing a “hidden” (2934) “trap” (6431a) and they want you to fall into it.  The context is David feeling like he is boxed in.  The title, which I think is in the text, says it was written while he was hiding in a cave.

I don’t know about you but I have never hidden in a cave.  If I had a cave when my grandchildren were visiting I might find a reason to hide in it, but no such luck.  There is a lesson for us in this though.  Our lives are full of quiet little traps that are designed to drag us down.  Some are the active work of Satan.  Others are just the way life is.

How do we avoid them?  Two thoughts came to mind.  First, stick to the well traveled paths.  If you are on the sidewalk you will probably not find too many pits to fall into.  If you are forced to go your own way then look for the footprints of those who have gone before you.  They will give you a safe route.

So?  Be aware.  If you are driving the speed limit then the cop behind the tree will have no interest in chasing you.  That may not be true if you have doughnuts. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Self-Confident Fools

(Pro 17:7 KJV)  Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

Proverbs has a lot to say about fools.  In this chapter it comes up seven times.  The actual Hebrew has the idea of open, as in vacant.  The Amplified Bible throws in some helpful adjectives:  Empty headed and self-confident.  The first is usually obvious but we sometimes confuse the second for actual ability.

Don’t be convinced just because someone is sure of themselves.  What I find is a time to be wary is when someone tells me something they read on the internet or heard on You Tube.  That should wave the “fool” (5036) flag rigorously.

So?  Wisdom and truth have always been found in the Bible.  In our day and age that should be a double-down because our culture has turned its back on both.  Read and contemplate.  Compare what God says to what you neighborhood guru is proclaiming. 

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Worship from the Heart

(Psa 141:2 KJV)  Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

(Proverbs 16 also read)

This gives us an insight into the place of the law and the necessity of applying it.  Notice that there is substitution going on.  The one you might notice the most is the substitution of lifted hands for an “offering” (4503).  The NASB is a better reading of this because the offering being offered is not a blood sacrifice but a grain offering.  Don’t get sidetracked by that because according to the law it is still supposed to be offered and done in the temple.

While God has rigorous standards and unbending moral demands, He is more concerned about attitude than ritual.  

So?  It is a common theme in the Old Testament that God wants our love and obedience more that rituals offered as dull routine.  He is a living God and wants worship from the heart. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Adjectives Imagined

(Pro 15:6 KJV)  In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

The Amplified Bible likes to throw in the translators’ interpretations.  In this chapter I began to notice their comments on “righteous” (6662).  The adjectives they throw in are “uncompromisingly” and “consistently”.  There is no basis in the text but I like the idea from a theological perspective.

We need to learn the difference.  There are some things we can incorporate into our doctrine because they are in the scripture.  There are other ideas we need to handle with care and make it clear that it is our opinion.

So?  Read.  Study.  Share.  Be clear in what you have to say. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Good Times

(Pro 14:9 KJV)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

The Amplified Bible likes to add things.  Sometimes they are deeper definitions and other times they are cool take-offs.  This verse has one of the latter.  In the first phrase it adds, “but sin mocks the fools.”  Not in the text but an interesting comment.  People with evil intent tend to look down on believers.  They think living morally is silly.  What this insert is pointing out is that God has the last laugh.  The result of their depravity will come back to bite them.  You may not see it.  They may not admit it.  It is still true.

I remember being in Vietnam and when making my way back to my bunk I saw a guy laying in the gutter.  He was passed out from all the alcohol he had “enjoyed”.  The next day he was talking about what a great time he had.  I asked him what he had done.  He said, “I can’t remember but I had a great time.”  

So?  No thanks.  Don’t get excited about their reports of the good times. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Leavings of Gold

(Pro 13:22 KJV)  A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Again the Amplified Bible throws in some interesting interpretation.  It gives an opinion about the “inheritance” (5157) by adding “of moral stability and goodness”.  I like that.  I would not make it a doctrinal position because that is not what the Bible says here but the general principle is good.  Our example in how we live our lives is a vital part of what we leave to our decedents.  It may even be the most important thing we can leave.

My father did not leave much in the way of wealth.  He left a fortune in example.  He passed it on to his boys.  His boys passed it on to their children.  I can still see that working in lives today when whatever money was left is long gone.

So?  Get your priorities straight.  It isn’t how many dollars you leave it is how much “moral stability and goodness” you demonstrated. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Standard Response

(Pro 12:22 KJV)  Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

The Amplified Bible has an interesting spin on “abomination” (8441).  They interpret it as “extremely disgusting and hateful”.  This might be hateful to those who look at certain terms, read them, acknowledge them and move right along.  This brings it a little closer to home.  God would express what we call “righteous indignation” at those who do not tell the truth.  Part of that is because Jesus identified Himself with truth and when we play it fast and loose it is like spitting in His face.  Part of it is that God wants a righteous church and lies undermine that.

So?  This is another reminder that we are called to be different from those we see and meet.  Our standards are the standards of God, not culture. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Don’t Forget to Write

(Psa 131:2 KJV)  Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

(Proverbs 11 also read)

This is an interesting picture, one that we might not come up with on our own.  In case you run in delicate circles, being “weaned” (1580) means moving from the breast to the bowl.  It is when the nursing becomes being spoon fed.  In our day where many women never nurse their children and those who do only stick with it a short time, we miss the point.  It was not unusual for a child to rely on his mother for years.  Being weaned meant a step toward maturity.

As we move to maturity, which is implied here, we need to keep in mind that God does not abandon us and send us out the door.  In some cultures, at a certain age, a boy child was sent out of the harem to the campfire.  He went from the comfort of the women’s tent to the conflict of the men’s world.  Here the rejection is not a factor.  Though we move on in some ways we always will have the fellowship and comfort of the Lord.

So?  Grow up.  Move on.  Keep in contact.  You will need it. 

Sunday, March 10, 2024

What Is Your Real Target?

(Pro 10:2 KJV)  Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Once again the literal quality of the KJV comes through with an understanding that we need to have.  That is the understanding that there is evil in our world and it shows up everywhere.

Here the emphasis seems to be on gathering wealth.  "Gains” (214) is not a bad word.  The “treasures” of the KJV might get to the point better here though.  It isn’t just a matter of earning enough to keep the wolf away from the door or to provide for old age.  This is talking about the things that you consider of great value.  Usually we think of financial wealth but it could be leisure time or grandchildren.  Again it is not a bad word.

“Wickedness” (7562) (ill-gotten NASB) does qualify.  It is a word rooted in the cesspool of moral depravity.  It is wrong priorities and a seeking after things that are just wrong.

So?  Your goals are important.  Even more important is the attitude behind those goals and priorities.  Consider wisely.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Cross-Referencing

(Pro 9:11 KJV)  For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

As I was reading this another verse came to mind and I put them together.  Note the words of Jesus,

(Mat 6:27 KJV)  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
We would think this is a rhetorical question and Jesus probably meant it that way in His context but I notice when comparing it with this verse in Proverbs and other cross references suggested that there are ways to extend you life.  To see the point you need to look at the NASB,
(Mat 6:27 NAS77) "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?
The basic thing Jesus is criticizing is worry or concern.  

Now look at Proverbs again.  It says that wisdom can extend out lives.  One of the key points of wisdom is to fear God, not man.

So?  Life choices based on the wisdom of God do have an effect.  It is up to us to apply what we know to what we do. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

Children and Evil

(Psa 127:5 KJV)  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

(Proverbs 8 also read)

One of the big questions of life is how to raise children.  Part of that is looking at what you turn out and asking if you did a good job.  While this does not give instructions in the process, it does give an indication of how to judge the results.

Do your children confront evil?  The two key words here are “speak” (1696), which is usually translated that way, and “enemies” (340 NASB, 341 KJV).  I was puzzled in the different words for “enemies” and found that one is the noun, which is used once, and the other (341) is an active participle, whatever that is, used 283 times.  I would look to the “active” part and say these are people out to get you.

So?  I am looking at children in their engagement with the forces of evil in the world.  Are they standing up and speaking out or are they going along to get along?  It gives me another way to look at raising children. 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Ah, to Be Young

(Pro 7:7 KJV)  And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,

I am enjoying reading the Amplified Bible this month.  It has become clear that it is more of a commentary than a translation.  Some of the suggestions it makes are interesting and do add a deeper insight into the possibilities of the wording.  Consider at your own risk.

What I found interesting here was the added words [empty-headed and empty-hearted] for the “naive” (6612a).  It fits because one of the meanings of the word is open.  I have liked the idea that the naive of the world are often that way because they have an open mind with no borders or standards.  The heart part goes along well.

So?  Read, study, think and come to conclusions.  Do not be open-minded in the Biblical sense.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Bringing in the Sheaves

(Psa 126:6 KJV)  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

(Proverbs 6 also read)

I saw in this a reminder of the living hope that we have.  So often we are wading through the “Slough of Despond” and can’t see the rising shore ahead.  We go forth in struggle and endure in faith.  What keeps us going is that vision of the future rooted in our faith in God.

Here we see testimony to how our burden, a “bag” (4901) of “seed” (2233) can, and will, turn into “sheaves” (485).  We have a song we sing that implies bringing in the sheaves is the produce of evangelism.  Here it is the blessings of life in general.

So?  Hang in there.  Be faithful.  He will be. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A Choir of Three

(Rev 3:20 KJV)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

(Proverbs 5 also read)

The bulletin said “men’s choir”.  When they assembled it had three members.  Where I come from that is a trio but this is Texas.  That is unimportant.  They sang “Since Jesus Came into My Heart”.  It is an old stand-by that means a lot to people who grew up in churches that loved to sing.  As they began I was a bit “ho, hum”.  Then I began to listen with my heart as well as my ears.

The last few mornings I have been reading over the words to that song and they have been blessing me over and over.  God wants to meet us in our time of worship whether that be corporate or individual.  He speaks to us in a multitude of ways.  When I read the words and compared my hymnal with the one at church I found out mine had five verses as opposed to three.  That was an extra bonus.

So?  Open the ears of your heart and allow God to speak to you.  For us older folk that might mean being open to listening to new “stuff”.  To youngsters it would be just the opposite.  God speaks.  We must listen. 

Monday, March 4, 2024

Promise or Common Sense

(Psa 122:6 KJV)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

(Proverbs 4 also read)

This is a verse that we hear quoted a lot, or at least I do.  It is used to express support for Israel.  As I was reading through today I found myself wondering is this is one of those verses that only applied to ancient Israel or was it still a promise.

I was thinking that Jerusalem was the site of the Temple but if this was written by David the temple had not been built yet.  Since this Psalm does not have an author indicated and we know that Solomon wrote at least one Psalm, it is possible that the presence of the Temple is key.  

So?  Whether this is a promise or not, it is still something that we should be doing.  Jerusalem is in the Middle East.  The Middle East has the potential to pull world powers into war the way the Balkans did in World War I.  We should indeed be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Theology of Punctuation

(Psa 121:1 KJV)  A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

(Proverbs 3 also read)

There are places where the KJV misses it but we are so used to it and in love with the poetic nature that we don’t stop to think.  This is one of those.  Do you see the difference in this verse?

(Psa 121:1 NAS77) A Song of Ascents. I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come?
Most of the modern translations make the second part of this verse a question.  That becomes obviously necessary when you read the next verse.
(Psa 121:2 KJV)  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
If you are stating that your help comes from the mountains then why are you saying it comes from the Lord.  A little reading of the OT will let you see the constant problem Israel had with the “high places”.  These were substitute worship centers that God had demanded to be destroyed.  We find that king after king did not do so.

So?  The hills may be alive with the sound of music.  Nature may inspire you and remind you of your creator.  Never forget that they are reminders.  God is our source and His written word is our most precious physical resource.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Self Teach

(Pro 2:2 KJV)  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

I have been hearing a lot of sermon reviews lately.  I have been hearing comments in response to pod casts and You Tube videos.  What hits me is how often the comments reflect how entertaining the speaker was.  They will share some amazing insight accompanied by charts, graphs and power point slides and the listener will go, “Wow”.  

What is happening is that the listener is letting someone else do their thinking for them.  We are to seek knowledge by using our own thinking, reading and prayer.  The Amplified Bible gets this across by throwing in the words  [seeking it conscientiously and striving for it eagerly].  In effect they are doing just what the verse says we should not be doing.

So?  Listen and benefit by the teaching of others but never let it substitute for your own diligent seeking of truth. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

De-calcification

(Pro 1:1 KJV)  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

As I begin Proverbs again, I have decided to read it in the Amplified Bible this month.  What caught my attention in the first verse was their explanation of what a proverb was.  It calls them (truths obscurely expressed, maxims).  Interesting.  While they may be obscure, they are also supposed to clarify.

It often helps to understand complex issues when we look through the eyes of another or read what they are reading.  I know that I enjoy the times that a translation will put things literally.  That makes it necessary for my brain to engage.  I have to wake up and get off automatic pilot to do that.  It is a win/win.

So?  Maybe it would help if you read in a different translation, not for a permanent thing, but as a way of shaking loose the calcification in the brain. 

Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Time for Salt

(Pro 29:8 KJV)  Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

I substituted “nation” for “city” (7151) as I read this.  That is natural for us today.  We don’t think in terms of cities as our identity as much as states or nations.  As we look at the condition of our political systems I think there is much to be worried about.  The wrong kind of people are in control.  What can we do about it?

One recommendation is that we be salt.  I know the word is not used here but that is the idea behind the righteous turning away wrath.  God eventually has enough and unleashes His wrath on nations and individuals.  One of the things that seems to hold back the destruction is a group of faithful believers who are living upright lives.  That is the only reason I can think of that He has not brought America to its knees.  Of course, that may already be in motion.

So?  Continue to be faithful.  Continue to live an upright life.  It may be enough to protect society.  It may not.  If not, trust that God will have His hand upon us. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Understand?

(Pro 28:11 KJV)  The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

We live in a day of the oppressed.  Our cultural elites want to make us feel guilt over every good thing in our lives and make us give up our sense of self worth for the downtrodden and “poor” (1800b).  God also has a concern for the poor but His main concern, I think, is for the righteous poor.  That is why this modifier of “hath” (has NASB) is so important.  It isn’t enough to be poor.  You need to also have insight into the things of God and His principles.  Proverbs also teaches that this wisdom is available to anyone regardless of income or social status.

So?  Don’t get all weepy eyed over those who are down and out.  There may be something you can do to help but often their condition is a result of their own decisions and a refusal to live upright lives.  You also need understanding to have the discernment to know the difference. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Slippery! Beware!

(Pro 27:16 KJV)  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

Certain relationships and encounters mark us and we can’t hide them.  Here the conflict is with a nagging wife.  The mark is compared to having “oil” (8081), which is the most common translation of the KJV “ointment” even in the KJV, on your hands.  I recently was using some lubricant out of a spray can.  In the process it adhered everywhere including the outside of the can.  That transferred to my fingers.  Once you get oily substances on your fingers it is almost impossible to get rid of them totally.  If you are forced into repeated contact, then forget it.

So it is in some relationships.  Solomon does not offer a simple solution although the next verse talks about iron sharpening iron.

So?  Accept that your relationships effect you.  Be careful whom you rub shoulders with so that you don’t spread what is negative.  There are probably times when it is better just to do something in solitude and let your attitude get back in shape.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Fair Hatred

(Pro 26:25 KJV)  When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

Although the word does not appear in this verse the focal point is on people consumed with hate.  We live in a day when the accusation of “hater” is common but as so much goes today it is deceptive in itself.  What most people talking about as hate is simply someone who disagrees with them.  By the very nature of the deception they become the object they vilify and part of the charade.

The warning here is to understand that people filled with hate remain filled with hate no matter how smooth they start talking.  They are well schooled to deceive, twist and distort.  They have an aversion to righteousness and truth.  That is one of the key ways in which our modern culture is working against Jesus:  They reject absolute truth and embrace relativity.  

So?  Saturate yourself with the word of God.  Let it guide your decisions and your acceptance of the decisions of others. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Multi-Dimensional

(Psa 115:9 KJV)  O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.

(Proverbs 25 also read)

I have a friend who constantly claims that the Old Testament was written to the Jews so it does not speak to us today.  He might use a verse like this, where the author addresses Israel to back up his position.  Fair enough but keep reading.

The next verse moves the focus from Israel to Aaron.  Let’s assume that the Israel here is the entire nation, not just the northern kingdom.  To whom is he writing when he says “Aaron”?  I would have to suggest he is talking about the priests.

Then in verse 11 the focus again changes.  The target audience in that verse is all people who “fear” (3372a) the Lord.  I think this opens it up to the entire world.  We see the pattern repeated in verses 12 and 13.

So?  We need to understand context when we study the Bible.  That applies in both the Old and the New.  Then we look at what it says and consider what it means.  I think we can rest assured that God oversaw the transmission of the entire Bible because it was all meant to be useful to us.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Get Working

(Pro 24:12 KJV)  If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Recently our pastor’s wife was accused of being a heretic because she believed in a religion of salvation by works.  This is a common put-down by people who are immersed in the Calvinistic view of theology.  The whole idea of “works” (6467) is condemned wholesale.  These people love to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 which points out the place of grace and faith and ignore verse 10 which uses the Greek version of this word “works” in a positive way.

To me the Bible is very clear about two things.  First, we cannot save ourselves.  We cannot earn enough merit to pay for our sin.  Salvation only comes because God has graciously sent Jesus as the Perfect Lamb of God to be the sacrifice or propitiation.  Second, God expects us to live holy lives in response to that gift.  Grace does not rule out works.  Grace does not negate works.  Even Paul, the Apostle of grace, refers to this.

(2Co 5:10 KJV)  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
So?  Rejoice that God has provided a way to salvation that is not dependent on our hard work and perfection.  Be alert to the fact that He expects you to live the life He has made possible.  It is not a salvation by works; it is a salvation leading to works. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

A Different Type of Eagle Wing

(Pro 23:5 KJV)  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Notice that the word “riches” is not in the original Hebrew at this point.  It refers back to the previous verse.  The idea is that riches tend to disappear.  As an example think of people who have won a big check in the lottery, who receive a large inheritance or some other unearned bit of wealth.  What tends to happen?  They blow it and end up as poor as before.

Many Americans have an income that would put them in the upper class in the third world.  I hear about how cheap it is to live in some countries.  In spite of that they are one pay check away from disaster.  They have no savings.  Their credit cards are maxed out.  At the same time someone who has limited income has their bills paid and their home paid off.  Why?  How?

People who focus on riches tend to think it is there to spend.  So they spend.  They figure they will make up for it later but they never do.  As a result, it flies away.

So?  God will meet our needs but we have a part in that formula.  It means that we practice stewardship.  It means we follow His priorities.  It means learning the difference between need and want.  Check your bank account as see how you are doing. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

A Hand Full of Sand

(Eph 3:20 KJV)  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

(Proverbs 22 also read)

When it comes to God I can understand that I can’t understand.  Look at this verse.  He can do more than we can “ask” (154) for.  Even more, He begins at a level beyond what we can imagine.  That humbles us, or it should.  It is like seeing the beach stretching away for miles and picking up a hand full of sand.  We might be able to count the grains in our hand.  We can see it and weigh it but it does not even begin to tell us what is beyond the horizon.

So?  Be humbled.  At the same time be lifted up.  He has decided to work through us.  Have a blessed day of being a blessing. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Lying Lips

(Psa 120:2 KJV)  Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.

(Proverbs 21 also read)

Whose “lips” (8193) are doing the “lying” (8267)?  It may be obvious to you but it is not to me.  Is this about others lying about David or is it David lying about others.  Or for that matter it could be David lying about himself.  To make an application substitute your name in for that of David.

There is nothing we can do about others talking about us.  There is something we can do about what our mouth does.  In either case it is really going to be the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about change.  

So?  There is the element of trust here.  There is the necessity of repentance.  One goes for those lying about you.  Both apply to our actions.  Truth is basic to our spiritual walks and to the operation of our society. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Listen up, Goyim

(Psa 117:1 KJV)  O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.

(Proverbs. 20 also read)

The message of the Bible has a universal element even in the OT.  Christians assume that the gospel is for the whole world.  God intended His message to go out to everyone even when it was rooted in the law.  There are two words here that declare that.  First you have “nations” (1471).  If you have ever heard the reference to gentiles, goyim, that is a Yiddish corruption of this Hebrew word.  The second word, “peoples” (523) is only used three times and clearly references people who are not part of Israel.

So?  God is universal and always has been.  His message is universal and always has been.  Rejoice if you have experienced this personally. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Trembleday

(Psa 114:7 KJV)  Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;

(Proverbs 19 also read)

Liturgical churches have a calendar that is designed to emphasize a different doctrinal or historical point on a given date.  I know that every Sunday has an emphasis.  I suspect that every day also has one although I have never looked close enough to verify that.  Thus we have Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday.  We have Christ’s mass day.  This verse makes me wonder if it would be appropriate to have a “Tremble” (2342a) day or Sunday.  

We take God for granted so often.  We ignore Him or think of Him as a kind old man.  This verse points out how all nature stops in its tracks at His presence.  I know there is a big bit of poetic license in play but the idea of awe, reverence and fear is also present.

So?  Take a moment to stop and get a bit shaken up at the holiness of God.  Consider His wrath and righteousness.  Be glad that He has made a way through Jesus for us to know His love and forgiveness.  Rejoice. 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

God Is Watching

(Psa 113:6 KJV)  Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!

(Proverbs 18 also read)

One of the errors we make is to be too consumed with “What a friend we have in Jesus.”  It is easy to take away the eternal and majestic nature of God and just make Him a buddy.  The other extreme is just as bad.  Too many people think of God as just “out there”.  This was the error of the Deists.  For them God created the watch, wound it up and departed the scene.  No.  God takes the time to “behold” (7200) us on earth.

Notice that He is also stooping when He considers the heavens so far above us.  We see here both the uncomprehensible God and the God who reaches out to touch us.

So?  Rejoice.  Our God is both.  He is beyond our feeble attempts to understand and yet He keeps giving us red hot clues for the day. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Strong, Silent Type


(Pro 17:28 KJV)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.


I am finding this advice needs to move front and center in my daily interactions.  One person in particular seems to take everything I say, squeeze it, twist it, distort it, and feed it back to me.  I find it almost impossible to have a civil conversation.  Eventually wisdom shows up and says, “Stop trying.”  

I seem to have several options.  I can be rude and just walk by ignoring the person.  I can listen and say some variation of, “Thank you for sharing that,” then walk on ignoring the person.  I can try the pointless route of dialogue.  What is best is to be courteous, listen as carefully as I can and try to get away without any input on my part.  I can then think about what I heard and decide if it is just noise or something to listen to.  

So?  Life involves constant attention.  Let it be governed by courtesy and kindness as well as long suffering.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Rib Misogyny

(Gen 2:21 KJV)  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

(Proverbs 16 also read)

I recently gave in to some click-bait that was giving a theory that woman was not made from the rib.  That was presented as a mistranslation based on misogyny.  He then goes on to say the real translation is “side” which implies being equal instead of inferior.  This is a perfect example of people taking their personal agenda and twisting the Bible to fit.  If you do a little thinking you can see how false his teaching is.  

First take the verse being quoted.  However you want to translate this, God took one of something from Adam and closed up the flesh.  Then if you look at verse 23 it talks about “bone of my bone.”  Rib (H6763) seems a good choice.

Then he says there is a perfectly good Hebrew word for rib and mentions a verse in Daniel 7:5 where it talks about the ribs in the mouth of a bear.  This is wrong in two ways.  Daniel is mainly written in Aramaic, not Hebrew, and the word there is the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew word used in Genesis.  In reality it is the same word.  The one he uses as proof of an anatomical word for “rib” (G5967) is in a bears mouth and is only used once.  This is not much to build an alternate understanding of the Bible.

So?  Beware of people who talk like they know what they are talking about.  I guess that would include me.  Do your own reading, research and thinking.  There is a lot of ego on the line for them and possible eternal consequences for us. 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Be Careful What You Ask For

(Psa 106:15 KJV)  And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

(Proverbs 15 also read)

Once again the KJV comes through with a literal translation.  Compare the NASB:

(Psa 106:15 NAS77) So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them.
The marginal note in the NASB says that “wasting disease” (7332) means literally “leanness of soul”.  Again I ask, “Then why not translate it thus and let us make the application.

There is a reason why God does not give us everything we think we want.  He knows what it will really produce.  I don’t know about you but a lean soul does not sound like part of the plan I have for my life.

So?  Pray.  Let your requests be known to God.  Accept His wisdom when He ignores you or gives you an alternative you had not thought of. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Say Goodby to Eden

(Psa 106:8 KJV)  Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

(Proverbs 14 also read)

This is a hard lesson for us to get down.  God does not exist for our purposes.  We exist for His.  One of the basic tenets of sin is self-centeredness.  Remember Satan’s appeal to Eve that she could be as a god if she would ignore the word of the Lord.  How did that work out?

When we get our priorities reversed we can count on it working out the same for us.  I don’t know what Eden you might be kicked out of or what potential you might be denied but it will not be what you thought it would be.  God is God.  He is the Creator.  We are created.  We are created in His image, yes, but we are still created.

So?  The glory is His.  We need to be grateful that He is willing to let us join Him.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

A Key Definition

(1Jn 4:8 KJV)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

(Proverbs 13 also read)

 This is a proclamation about God that deserves to be trumpeted more often.  We have a simple statement, repeated in verse 16, that “God” (2316) is “love” (25) [agape].  It is important for us to understand this in order to understand God.  

This is agape love.  It is a special category in the New Testament.  It summarizes all of the attributes of God and gives them a context.  We need to be careful that we do not limit God by having a false understanding of what agape is.  It is not Hollywood love.  It is not warm fuzzy love.  It is not an emotion.  It is a decision.  It is a condition.  It is something that not only helps us understand God but reminds us of the kind of person we are supposed to be.

So?  Spend some time thinking about the Biblical definition of love.  Maybe you could get out a concordance and do a word study.  Be one who knows God because you love. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Rotten Choices

(Pro 12:4 KJV)  A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

How locked in are we to the way people treat us?  Like so many parts of life, we make choices.  When someone “shames” (954) us we can respond in many ways.  We can internalize it and let it fester.  I think that is the situation this verse refers to.  I have noticed in my life that the criticism that bothers me the most is from someone I let past my defenses.  When a beggar at the door of the 7/11 tells me I am cheap it doesn’t bother me.  When my wife says it, “Ouch.”

The solution is not to refuse to listen but to consider.  Consider the source.  Consider the object of the criticism.  It is very possible that the comments are valid and we need to take another look at how we are living.

So?  Don’t let it get you down.  Isn’t that easy to say but hard to live.  Focus on Jesus and grow in grace.  The criticism can be the making of you. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Life in Balance

(Pro 11:1 KJV)  A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

Put your discussions of the trinity on the back burner.  Let the substitutionary atonement wait for another day.  God is concerned about your scales.  We tend to forget this.  God is very practical.  Living a righteous life is very basic.  It comes down to simply not cheating in your daily life.

Obviously most of us do not use a balance beam scale on a regular basis, but I think you get the point.  God’s call to holiness touches every area of our lives, not just our doctrine.

So?  Take a moment to consider your day.  Look back for 24 hours.  Are you applying God to all you do?  Now is a good time to start. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Glory!

(Psa 100:1 KJV)  A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

(Proverbs 10 also read)

 How should we express our love and awe at the thought and experience of Almighty God?  This verse has two sides expressed in one Hebrew word.  “Make a joyful noise” (Shout joyfully NASB) (7321) is a word that speaks of a loud expression.  In some of the Hebrew usages it has the idea of joy.  Put together the KJV and the NASB and you get an act of worship.  

Our worship is a bit inhibited.  Some of that is personality.  Some of it is training.  Too much of it is lack of awareness of the glory of God and the privilege of knowing Him.  Somehow the creator of the universe has a spot in His being that desires our input, our love.  Moses received the law to help mold these beings.  Jesus went to the cross to make the relationship available to all.  

So?  Think about it.  It is something to shout about.  I occasionally do it in private.  Maybe someday I will shout out in public.  I know I will do it before the throne.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Grandma’s or Fast Food

(Pro 9:4 KJV)  Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

Again I point out that this verse is identical to verse 16.  Every time I go through this chapter I try to put my finger on the differences built around two identical statements.  One leads to wisdom and the other to death.  How can we know which we are listening to?  Today I am noticing the element of preparation.

The first woman spends a lot of time preparing the banquet.  The second sits down and calls.  Think of the difference between dinner at grandma’s and a drive through where the tacos are prepared from the freezer to the fryer to the window.  When it comes to a meal we can tell the difference.  When it comes to Bible teachers I think we can also tell the difference.  The question is, “Do you want to know?”

So?  Consider to whom you listen.  Do their words reflect serious study, contemplation and thought or is it just the current popular jargon of the day.  Partake cautiously.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Difficult Birth

(Pro 8:24 KJV)  When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

In looking at the explanation of “brought forth” (2342a) it seemed like it was a real struggle.  Without getting into whether wisdom is eternal or not we have here a statement that is seems to have been a real difficult move for wisdom to be moved from the nature of God into the universe He created.

It struck me that it is sometimes just as difficult for Him to move that wisdom from the abstract to the concrete in our lives and minds.  Think of trying to stuff a pillow into a case that is a bit small.  Think of herding cats.  Think of imparting wisdom to us.

So?  I want to make it as easy as possible for God to teach me.  He is the power but I am the consent. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

It Is Okay to Ask

(Psa 94:3 KJV)  LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

(Proverbs 7 also read)

Be honest.  You have asked this same question, haven’t you?  This phrase shows up fifteen times in Psalms, by far the most frequent book that it is found.  It seems to have been a favorite question of David and the other authors of the Psalms.

That makes it an acceptable question.  We get tired.  We are frustrated.  Surrender seems to be on the menu.  We ask.  God has His own way of answering.  Ultimately the answer is in His hands.  How long?  As long as it takes to develop us spiritually and to fulfill all the other irons that God has in the fire.

So?  This is part of living by faith.  It is asking.  It is trusting.  The two go well together. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Go for the Light

(Pro 6:23 KJV)  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

If you get feverish at the word “commandment” (4687) [mitsvah] try to relax a little.  A couple of verses earlier it tells us this is his father’s commandment.  Technically we are not being called to the law but in a round-about way we are.  You see, the father probably got his standards from the written law and is passing them on to his son.  Does that mean that we are not held accountable to our parents if they follow the Bible?  Does grace set us free from that?  I doubt it.

The real question is do you want the “light” (216) that is being offered.  If your main concern is your own personal fulfillment instead of the glory of God then you have a bigger problem than grace verses law.  You might want to ask yourself if you are really saved.  Whether you get hung up on obedience and righteousness or deny they are necessary, the evidence of your life is still considered.

So?  Accept God’s gift of salvation.  Trust in Jesus.  Obey your elders.  Go for the light. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Waxing Poetic

(Psa 98:8 KJV)  Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together

(Provers 5 also read)

Isn’t poetry wonderful?  Actually, I don’t like it too much but some people swear by it.  This is an example of poetic license.  One of the things some people have trouble with is the figurative language used in the Bible.  Most are familiar with simile and hyperbole.  This is anthropomorphism.  There is a long list of the possibilities somewhere but I am long past grammar lessons.  Most of us don’t believe rivers have hands or that mountains can carry a tune.  Read the Bible with your mind turned on.

One of the weaknesses of poetic license is that it is limited by the human imagination.  In reality there is no way that we can approach expressing the glory of God.  Yet we try and I think it is possible to please Him.

So?  He loves us.  He rejoices in our expressions of love.  If I showed you some of the “artwork” of my grandchildren you would think someone spilled there dinner on the paper but to me it is glorious.  He considers the source.  Give your best. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Bible Is Controversial

(Pro 4:4 KJV)  He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

In this verse we are given three controversial directions.  There are three verbs that Solomon is firing at us and they fly in the face of much modern teaching.  That teaching is based on truth but rapidly descends to the level of “traditions of the elders”.  

What are the three verbs?  First, “hold fast” (8551).  Second, “keep” (8104).  Then you have the results of the first two, “live” (2421a).  

What is the “tradition of the elders”?  It is a talking point of closet Calvinists that anyone who believes that we are to live obedient and righteous lives are pushing a “works based salvation.”  There is a way of thinking that has you earning your way into heaven.  The Pharisees and their oral traditions were on that road.  The problem is that the Bible teaches that we are to be obedient and live righteous lives.  If you read past selected proof texts from Paul you can’t avoid it.

So?  Base your salvation on the Grace of God and faith in the saving blood of Jesus.  Then keep reading and realize that we are to hang in there and keep at it.  The result is life. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

My Law

(Pro 3:1 KJV)  My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

A focal point of my thinking and inquiry for the past year has been this concept of Torah (8451), which is “law” in the KJV or “teaching” in the NASB.  I am still puzzled by the difference between the apostle Paul who is a walking indictment of the law and the view of David and Solomon, which is very positive.  Here we have a middle ground.  The word is used but the law is that of the father, or author of Proverbs.  

Much of Proverbs and Psalms is generic praise for the law.  You often need to search to find out just what the laws are that are being touted.  In this chapter you have to get down to verse 5 before any specifics are mentioned.

The “my” tempers this in regard to Paul.  Solomon is not presenting a plan of salvation.  He is giving directions on how to live a productive life.

So?  We are saved by the power of God which we label as grace.  There is a transformation that takes place which we cannot earn or work ourselves.  Then we get down to the directions and advice of books like Proverbs.  Now is a good time to initiate the sequence by trusting in Jesus and to begin applying it as you walk the walk. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

In the Spotlight

(Pro 2:7-8 KJV)  He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.  He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

It is still early in the year and there is a lot of concern about the direction the nation and the world are going.  The future does not instill a lot of confidence if you look at our leadership and read the headlines.  The gurus tend to be forecasting doom.  Such may be the case in a general sense but we do not live in a general sense.  We live in a specific sense.  There is the picture of living in a bubble, not because it is fragile but because it is not subject to what is outside.

These two verses offer us hope.  It is not a ray of hope.  It is a high lumen spotlight of hope.  God knows who His people are and He goes before us.  

So?  Could things fall apart and could we have social chaos?  Yes, we could.  In the midst of that we are to walk in hope and trust.  God not only has our back but our front and all sides.  Face the future with assurance. 

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Tune In

(Pro 1:4 KJV)  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

This offers a word of hope for all of us even when we don’t know we need it.  Few of us would think of ourselves as “naive” (6612a) (NASB) or “simple” (KJV).  We might be aware of our lack of knowledge and that we are a bit inexperienced, but being simple does not seem like a complement.  It isn’t.  We are.  The first step toward healing is to realize I am sick.

So?  Embrace the awareness of simplicity.  This is one of the reasons we keep studying the word.  This is why we can keep learning even though we have been reading the bible for decades.  There are great depths to be delved into and it won’t happen if we don’t go looking. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

A Blessed Law

(Pro 31:26 KJV)  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

We have a reference here to the “law” (teaching NASB) (8451) [torah].  This is the same concept that Paul spends so much time attacking.  Here the word is linked to “kindness” (2617a) [chesed].  This should point out to us that there are different forms of law, or teaching, and many of them are blessed.

In our culture we have different kinds of law.  We have the laws of nature such as gravity.  You ignore them to your peril.  We have traffic laws which you can sometimes get away with breaking.  We have the Constitution which seems to be open to manipulation in our modern society.  

So?  Observe the laws.  There is a penalty for ignoring them.  At the same time realize that our access to salvation is not through keeping the law but through trusting in Jesus to pay for our sins. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Increased Understanding

(Psa 93:1 KJV)  The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

(Proverbs 30 also read)

This is a good example of scripture that grows in its understanding as we grow in our knowledge.  Evidently there was once a universal belief that the earth did not “move” (4131).  The idea that it revolved around the sun, let alone sped through an expanding space, was foolishness.  I don’t think it even qualified as heresy.  We now know better and have adjusted our understanding.  What was once understood literally has become figurative.  The change does not reflect a decrease in the “strength” (5797) of God but an increase in our knowledge.

There will be other understandings that change.  Some are a bit obvious.  When you read,

(Luk 2:1 KJV)  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
You know that this did not involve the Chinese or Olmec.  

Some are still points of argument.  Did God create in seven 24 hour days?  

Keep your eye on the ball.  The issue is truth.  The medium is language and language is sometimes literal and other times figurative.  Keep in mind that if someone had told Moses about a camel going through the eye of a needle he may have not known what a needle was.

So?  Always read through the eyes of faith with your brain turned on.  It is much better than walking through a forest blindfolded. 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Live Jesus

(Pro 29:27 KJV)  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

Living a life of righteousness is not a thought experiment.  Notice the phrase “in the way (1870)”.  This is pointing out that our theories need to have rubber-meeting-the-road realities.  We are to live what we believe.  

You will find this description used in Acts to describe the early church.  Before they were called Christians, which was meant as an insult, they were called “the Way”.  Was that a coincidence?  I don’t think so.  It is an emphasis that a life that is not lived in righteousness is a life that does not reflect the presence of Jesus.

So?  Is this a demand that we be faultless?  No.  If that were how it worked we would have none of the letters of Paul written to deal with faults.  Go forth and live Jesus. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Never too Early

(Pro 28:26 KJV)  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Notice the different guides and results represented here.  On one side you have what would have to be defined as your emotions.  How do you feel about that?  We often hear that question.  Unless your feelings are based on more than your emotions you are in deep trouble.

The contrast is wisdom.  What is wisdom?  The entire book of Proverbs was preserved to answer that question.  It is not simple or short.  It is knowable.  It is also something that does not come out of thin air in a moment of crisis.  It demands input and contemplation.

So?  Get started.  They say it is never too late.  A better bit of advice is, “It is never too early.” 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Better a Landlord than a Tenant

(Pro 27:26 KJV)  The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

What are the goats and lambs of your life?  I am not a shepherd.  I have no desire to be a goatherd.  I am content admiring them from afar and letting the children pet them.  At the same time there are things in my life that take their place.  This is a verse in support of free market responsibility.  We are to use our assets to provide for our needs.  Notice that you are not eating the sheep, you are shearing them.  And you are encouraged to buy land.

God expects us to be givers, not takers.  That is a bit of a jump from this but consistent with it.  I am not to expect my neighbors goats to supply my clothing.  I think it also implies it is better to own the field than rent.

So?  Consider God’s guidance of your financial life as much as your spiritual walk.  Maybe they are intertwined more than we think.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Day of Revelation

(Pro 26:26 KJV)  Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

How do we detect people who are filled with hate?  It is not easy and it may not even be possible in the short run.  They are very good at “covering” (3680) what is in their heart.  Their hatred is not based on evil that has been done to them.  These are people who are an intimate part of the church, family or community.  They have all the opportunities and blessings of those around them, but are consumed by hatred.  They are stealth members of the body.

This verse tells us that they will eventually be “revealed” (1540) and in a public way.

So?  Be prepared for the shock of revelation.  Make sure your heart is right. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

It Matters

(Pro 25:26 KJV)  A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

What is the cost of compromise?  It is an important question for us today.  The cultural Marxism is pressing in from all sides.  If you send your children to college they come back brainwashed and rejecting all you believe in.  We live in a culture that is intent on shaming us into silence and conformity.

It is easy to tell others how to face this.  It is much harder to stand tall ourselves.  I have a tendency to say, “Now is not that time.”  Later I admit to myself it was.  Keep in mind that people are watching you.  I would tell you that there are many who believe as you do but are afraid to speak out but that won’t help.  Each of us needs to develop the backbone to stand tall even if we are the only dandelion in the lawn.

So?  Live like your response to cultural pressure matters because it does.  You may miss a few bargains and not be invited to all the parties but you will have a greater chance of hearing, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Walk Tall

(1Sa 2:9 KJV)  He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

(Proverbs 24 also read)

This is a reminder we need.  Hannah is praying and giving praise to God.  She has gone through a long list of specifics and here she gives a general statement about the providence of God, grace, if you will.

We have hope.  We have a future.  We have victory.  It is not based on our “strength” (3581).  It is based on the God we serve.  It is a similar story with our eternal salvation.  It does not depend on our might but on the power of God.

So?  Walk tall.  Speak with confidence.  God is still in charge.  He has been through this before even if it is our first time. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Shore up Your Corner

(Pro 23:26 KJV)  My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Today I started reading in this verse and it seemed to me that this was a word from the Lord about my relationship with Him.  By the time I finished reading the chapter I woke up to the fact that this is Solomon talking to his son.  What does it have to say to us today?

It speaks of family relationships.  Specifically this is between father and son.  I would assume that the same principle involves mothers and daughters and that there is a crossover.  It goes against what our culture is telling us.  You may not be reading books to your grandchildren.  You may not have read a lot to your children.  I noticed it way back then.  There is a definite message sent by modern literature.  Fathers are fools.  Don’t pay any attention to them.  At least be ready to bail them out when they mess up.

So?  Realize how our culture is trying to destroy the family.  Make it a principle to build the family up.  As a parent, set the example.  As a child, follow the example.  The world around you may be crashing and burning but that does not mean you must join them. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Do You Want an Answer?

(Psa 91:15 KJV)  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

(Proverbs 22 also read)

We like the promises of God.  This chapter in Psalms is full of them.  Notice the condition that is laid out here.  We must “call” (7121) on God.  One of the important aspects of calling on someone is to make sure that they can here you.  My wife likes to talk to me when I am not in the room any more.  She wonders why I don’t hear her.  Go back and look at the first verse where it talks about dwelling in His shelter.

He will “answer” (6030a).  Make sure you are listening.  

So?  What are you going to do with the answer.  That is the real question here.  It won’t do to get an answer from God that is conditional and to ignore the condition.  It won’t do any good to admire the results of a righteous life and refuse to live righteously.  

Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Whole Grain Option

(Psa 67:2 KJV)  That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

(Proverbs 21 also read)

I like the KJV translation of this verse.  It may not be the most accurate but it strikes a bell.

First I noted that this is to all nations.  Since I have a friend who largely ignores the OT because he claims it was written to the Jews, this statement stands out to me.  Yes, it was written to the Jews but this promise is offered to all.

I like the idea of “saving health” (3444).  The simple translation is “salvation” but I like the idea that this is the healthy choice.  It makes me think of all the jargon around organic products.  Maybe we could have a vegan translation.  

Then you have the condition.  It is amazing how often God’s promises are conditional.  The condition here?  It involves knowing His “way” (1870) and I assume following it.

So?  Go whole grain living.  Read about God’s plan for salvation and living.  It makes a difference if you let it.  All the whole grain goodness in the world doesn’t do you any good if it is left on the shelf. 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Freedom of the Law

(Psa 119:45 KJV)  And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

(Proverbs 20, also read)

Here in a discussion of the law we are told we can “walk” (1980) at “liberty” (7342).  What a surprising statement in the Old Testament.  Or is it?  So much of our view of law is molded by Paul reacting to the Judaizers who were following him around and trying to get people circumcised.  The problem was not actually the circumcision but the stress they seemed to be putting on it as being necessary for salvation.  The details of the law can be a problem if you look at them as hoops to jump through or boxes to check off.  

Or, it can be freeing.  Reading in Psalms gives you the other side of the coin on the law.  Here it is clear that the person who has a focus of looking for God’s wisdom will be able to walk in freedom.  It is because his trust is in God and not in the ritual.  James uses a similar approach when he talks about the law of liberty.

So?  Don’t look to rules and regulations as a force of salvation.  Look to an awareness of the potholes to give you the ability to relax in a world full of holes.  Trust and obey.