Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Proverbs 26 - 16 thoughts and tidbits

Proverbs 26.3-5
"A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the fool's back.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, ...

Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes."
Since a fool doesn't have the aptitude for wisdom you give him/her enough of a correction to put him/ her in their place without getting drawn into a war of words on their terms that makes you look silly too. It takes real wisdom to get that right.

Here is a trio of Proverbs on the importance of expanding and deepening your circle of friends. It is foolish to underestimate the importance of friends or assume you won't need them.

Proverbs 27.8-10
Like a bird that wanders from its nest
Is a man who wanders from his place.
Ointment and perfume delight the heart, ...

And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
--> Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend,
Nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity;
Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.

Anytime we think to ourselves. "I''ve got this," it should give us pause to stop and consider who we are really trusting and following.

Proverbs 28.25-26
"He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, ...

But whoever walks wisely will be delivered."

The middle verse states the principle and is sandwiched by two supporting proverbs. The fear of man can become idolatry when it displaces our fear of God. (Matt 10.28)
Proverbs 29.24-26
"Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing....

The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.
Many seek the ruler's favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD."

Lord help my reverence and awe of you dwarf any fear of people.

We should never be too cool, respected, or majestic to repent and turn from being proud and foolish.
Proverbs 30.29-32
There are three things which are majestic in pace,
Yes, four which are stately in walk: ...

A lion, which is mighty among beasts
And does not turn away from any;
A greyhound ( or strutting rooster),
A male goat also,
And a king whose troops are with him.
If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth.

Lord, help me always be more concerned about your image than mine.

What a dismal outlook on what tends to catch our attention. A humble fear of the Lord and real accomplishments are what speak to eternal substance.
Proverbs 31.30-31
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised....

Give her credit for what she has accomplished,
and let her works praise her in the city gates." (NET Bible)

These three proverbs remind us of how greed can distract our good judgement. When we sin, we are usually hurting a ourself. Like Moses said to the men of Gad, "Be sure your sin will find you out." (By. 32.23)

Proverbs 1.17-19
"For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors."

It caught my attention that these verses never really single out what bad things they do. What makes them bad is that they have chosen to do them. Their delight in wrong itself is their great failing.

Proverbs 2.-2-15
"...delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, ...

who delight in doing evil,
they rejoice in perverse evil;
men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways."

Lord, cause my heart to seek you and love Your way.

This quadrant of prohibitions remind us that power and resources are the sweetest when they can be used to bless. Wisdom finds joy in harmony and generosity, not spreading grief and being stingy.
roverbs 3.27-30
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"—when you have it with you....

Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.
Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm."

Lord, make me a good and pleasant neighbor.

1. Pay attention to what is going on in your heart.
2. Take care of what you say.
3. Keep an eagle focus on the right path.

Proverbs 4.23-25
"Keep your heart with all diligence,...

For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you. "

Proverbs 5.22-23
"The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities,
and he will be held by the cords of his own sin.
He will die because there was no discipline;
because of the greatness of his folly he will reel." (NET Bible)...

Sometimes it seems we blame Satan for having a direct hand in what we do to ourselves. After thinking about these verses I wonder if we give God's judgment for the normal consequences of our own sins.

Proverbs 6.20-22
"My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck....

When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you."
I am thinking about the continual memorization and indoctrination needed to bind Scriptures to a child's heart so they will be with them and guide them every waking moment.
Lord, help your Words be the continual meditation of my heart and instruction to the young.

These verses grab me every time I read them. Here is a nice, religious girl who is also an immoral pitfall.
Proverbs 7.13-15
So she caught him and kissed him;
With an impudent face she said to him:
"I have peace offerings with me; ...

Today I have paid my vows.
So I came out to meet you,
Diligently to seek your face,
And I have found you."

Lord, give us the Word-filled understanding to discern between the professing religious acting and those who personally know and follow you,

Proverbs 8.7-9
"For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them....

They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge."
These verses highlight the moral nature of wisdom. Lord, don't let sin that would cloud my judgment take root.

These verses reminds me of the classic scene in a Western movie where the first cowboy in the desert runs up to the water hole and is about to drink when the second wise cowboy or Indian sees all the skeletons and stops him from drinking the poisoned water. Listen to wisdom and live.
Proverbs 9.14-18
For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
To call to those who pass by, ...

Who go straight on their way.
"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here";
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
"Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.

Proverbs 10.27-28
The fear of the LORD prolongs days,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
The hope of the righteous will be gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked will perish.

This is one of the verses where the positive results of the fear of the Lord (and hope it produces) are presented is a positive light. Much to mull in this couplet.

Proverbs 11.2-4
2 When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them....

4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Pride vs. humility
Integrity vs. perversity
Righteousness vs. riches
The road we travel on takes is to our eternal destiny. Lord, continue to do your good work in my heart so that I will humbly trust in You and walk in Your way of righteousness.

Sometimes proverbs that sit next to each other seem pretty unrelated until we let them simmer together for a while. These three seem to be like that.
Proverbs 12.1-3
1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, ...

But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.
3 A man is not established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous cannot be moved.

Lord, don't let me be stupid when corrected.

Proverbs 13.13-14
He who despises the word will be destroyed,
But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
The law of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death....

14.27 is the same as 13.14 except it replaces the law of the wise with the fear of the Lord. Respect for God and His Word are good for my "health."

Proverbs 14.12 says that there is a way that seems right to a man. Verses 16-18 are part of the description of that man.
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, ...

And a man of wicked intentions is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly,
But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

Lord, I want to be on your way.

A cheerful heart, fear of thenLord, and love "help the medicine go down." Some things are better than great wealth and abundance.

Proverbs 15.15-17
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it....

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

Proverbs 16.
Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it,
but the instruction of fools is folly.

The pairing of good sense with instruction indicates that it is the good sense to receive instruction not knowing everything that is in view....
Lord, good me a teachable spirit that welcomes instruction.