Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Short meditations from Proverbs

Proverbs 3.19-20
"The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew."...

These verses with the backdrop of Job 38.1-4ff remind us that we are totally unqualified to challenge or question God, but must observe His works in amazement with the rest of creation.

The contrast between the clarity and eternal acumen of the wise and the ignorance and cloud of the wicked is instructive. It is also interesting that the wise are contrasted with the wicked.
Proverbs 4.18-19
"But the path of the just is like the shining sun,[
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness; ...

They do not know what makes them stumble."
Lord, help ne to walk in the light in close fellowship with you.

I'm thinking about the timing of reading these verses the Sunday that I am preaching on sin from 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51. I'll bet David was able to give some earnest and heartfelt advise on this topic
Proverbs (.18-20
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, ...

Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

I am not the exception that can sin without consequences. Help me to walk in discretion and good sense.
Proverbs 6.28-29
"Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet?
So it is with the man who sleeps with another man's wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished." (NET)

Two things are addressed in this Proverb. One is the deadly consequences of being entangled with an immoral person. The second that applies to all of us is the arrogant and foolish idea is that somehow I am smarter than thousands of others to be able to do this great sin and slip away unharmed and unaffected.
Proverbs 7.25-27
"Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths;
For she has cast down many wounded, ...

And all who were slain by her were strong men.
Her house is the way to hell,
Descending to the chambers of death."
Lord, keep me humble and aware that I am under your watchful gaze.

Proverbs 8.4-7
"To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart....

Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things:
For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips."
Lord, give me ears to hear what you are saying and a heart to understand.

“What one generation neglects, the next generation rejects." Pulled this from a Beyond Barriers e-mail.

While one would think that the wise person has it all together and does not need or appreciate instruction/correction, it is actually just the opposite.
Proberbs 9.7-9
"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; ...

Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."
Lord, give me the humble teachable spirit that pleases You and benefits me.

Proverbs 11.20-21
"Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD,
But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished;
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered."...

A good thing to keep in mind as I read the news.

Wicked intentions are transitory, rotten and passing. Lord, grow my "root of righteousness" deep and strong.
Proverbs 12.2-4
A good man obtains favor from the LORD,
But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.
A man is not established by wickedness, ...

But the root of the righteous cannot be moved.
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 13.8
"The ransom of a man's life is his wealth,
but a poor man hears no threat."
One way of looking at this proverb is that the more we have invested in heaven and the less we have invested in this earth, the less influence this world has on us.

Proverbs 14.20-22
"The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
but the rich has many friends.
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor....

Do they not go astray who devise evil?
Those who devise good show steadfast love and faithfulness."
Who will be a generous friend to his poor neighbor? "Devise good" implies intentional planning.

These three proverbs join around the theme of a humble, teachable spirit. When we resent rebukes and instruction, we put a roadblock on the path to the honor that comes from a life that pleases the Lord.
Proverbs 15.31-33
"The ear that hears the rebukes of life
Will abide among the wise.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, ...

But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility."

A firm belief in verse 33 helps make verse 32 a reality.
Lord, help my awareness and confidence in your soveriegnty develop a godly self-control of my spirit.

Proverbs 16.32-33
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, ...

And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

Proberbs 17.27-28
"He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive."...

Talk less.

I am thinking about why two proverbs about a fools mouth getting him is trouble are next to one about gossip. Hmmmm...
Proberbs 18.6-8
"A fool's lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
A fool's mouth is his destruction, ...

And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body."

The results of a fool's ignorant activity to get rich quick frustrates them and in their foolishness they lash out at God.
Proverbs 19.1-3
"Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Even zeal is not good without knowledge, ...

and the one who acts hastily sins.
When a man's folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the LORD."
Lord, help me the know and be satisfied with you.

Proverbs 20
"A wise king sifts out the wicked,
And brings the threshing wheel over them.
The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart....

Mercy and truth* preserve the king,
And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne."
The wise King both sifts out the wicked and preserves his throne with mercy and truth. That is a special balance.
* ('emeth:firmness, faithfulness, truth)

Verses 1 and 30 share the theme that the Lord is the one who sovereignly brings things to past. And 2 and 29 share the theme of the futility of thoughts against the Lord. These verses form "bookends for the whole chapter.
Proverbs 21.1-2
1. The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes. ...

2. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the hearts.
Proverbs 21.30-31
30 There is no wisdom or understanding
Or counsel against the LORD.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But deliverance is of the LORD.

Proverbs 22:1-2
"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common,
The Lord is the maker of them all."...

"The rich should remember that his treatment of the poor is equated with his treatment of their Maker (17:5), and the poor should learn not to despise, envy, or revolt against the rich (3:13), or sycophantically to ingratiate himself with him or compromise his conscience to get his smile. Rather, he should both respect him and yet evaluate him as merely God's creature." --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

This is the eighth of thirty sayings of the wise in the first section of the sayings that focuses on wealth.
Proverbs 23.6-8
"Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies,
for he is like one who is inwardly calculating "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words."

Proverbs 24.10-12
"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?"

Righteous associates and advisors aren't just important for kings. Lord, surround me and my family with people that point us to You.
Proverbs 25.4-5
Take away the dross from silver,
And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.
Take away the wicked from before the king, ...

And his throne will be established in righteousness.

The seventh "unhealthy" person described in Proverbs 25 is the hater. It is not enough to "be nice" to people. Love should come from our hearts not just our lips because hate will destroy the hater.
Proverbs 25.23-28
23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross
24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, ...

And lays up deceit within himself;
25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there areseven abominations in his heart;
26 Though hishatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

God, give me the eyes and heart of Christ toward other people.

Good, honest friends are our most valuable assets. It would be helpful for us to think in this way about our church and make the effort to develop trust and loyalty with our church families.
Proverbs 27.9-10
"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend, and do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away."

Am I more interested in looking good or becoming good? Lord, help me be a good repenter.
Proverbs 29.13-14
"Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, ...

but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity."

The iconic quote from Proverbs 29.18 in the KJV, "Where there is no vision the people perish," has often taken on a meaning of it's own largely disconnected from it's meaning and context. Word-centered instruction/correction are a core ingredient to our children's (and our) future happiness.
Proverbs 29.17-18 [NET]
"Discipline your child,
and he will give you rest;
he will bring you happiness. ...

When there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but the one who keeps the law, blessed is he!"
Lord, cause your Word to do it's work in my heart to produce self restraint and happiness in me,

Proverbs 30.4-6
"Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth? ...

What is His name, and what is His Son's name, If you know?
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
Do not add to His words,
Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
1. Five worshipful meditations.
2. Where to fine the answer.
3. A great promise.
4. Don't go beyond what God has said.
Lord, may your Word increase my wonder of and trust in You.


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