Thursday, March 31, 2016

Proverbs in March 2016

Proverbs 1.7-9
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;

For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
1. Solomon moves seamlessly from the fear of the Lord to parents to the instruction and value of the Godly parent's teachings. Hmmmm...
2. The fear of the Lord prompts a humble teachable spirit. Lord, do that in me.
3. The parents instruction should have a timeless and "divine" quality. Our routine procedural instruction and character training should point to timeless spiritual / Gospel truths. 
Lord, help there be a connection between my daily activities, conversations, and thoughts and Your eternal realities.
Proverbs 2.16-18
To deliver you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words,
Who forsakes the companion of her youth,
And forgets the covenant of her God.
For her house leads down to death,
And her paths to the dead;

-> She is "zuwr" estranged for the moral and cultural norms of the covenant.
-> Empty words of praise.
Is not faithful to her commitment, but abandons her husband.
-> Turns away from the substance of her covenant with God.
-> She is headed to death and He'll and leading people there.
Lord, help me stay committed to You, to walk in your ways, and to be faithful to the wife of my youth.
Proverbs 3.33-35
33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just,

34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.

35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.
Isaiah 57.15; James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5
Lord, give me the humble, submissive, and teachable spirit to receive your enabling and blessing grace.
"The world despised the widow’s mite as too small while it criticized the anointing of Bethany as wasteful, exhibitionist and unrealistic. What the disciples said about the value of the ointment and the need of the poor was perfectly true, but Jesus looks for uncalculating devotion to himself..." --R. Alan Cole on Mark 14.3-9
Proverbs 5.1-2
My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
Preserve and keep: Wisdom is not as much prize to hide as a skill to practice and keep sharp.
Lord, help me be faithful with my time in the Word and meditating on your ways.
Proverbs 6.30-32
People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; 
He who does so destroys his own soul.
Solomon seems to indicate that there is treachery in adultery that makes it more deadly and dangerous than simple theft.
Lord, help me love Wisdom and be faithful to love you and my wife.
Proverbs 6.30-32
People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 
Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; 
He may have to give up all the substance of his house. 
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; 
He who does so destroys his own soul.
Solomon seems to indicate that there is treachery in adultery that makes it more deadly and dangerous than simple theft.
Lord, help me love Wisdom and be faithful to love you and my wife.
Wisdom is the ounce of prevention that protects us from immorality and adultery because wisdom reminds us that sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay.
Lord, I want your wisdom to control my thoughts and actions.
Proverbs 7.4-5
4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," 
And call understanding your nearest kin,
That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.
23 ...
He did not know it would cost his life
Wisdom cries out as much or more to those who understand and have found knowledge as to the simple / naive. We must be regularly reminded to keep learning and living wisdom. It sounds a lot like the ideas of salvation and sanctification.
Lord, give me ears to hear and a heart to obey.
Proverbs 8-8-10
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.
Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
The picture of foolishness is one calling out (like a giant billboard) to those who are going straight down the road to turn aside from direction and purpose to foolish, sinful horseplay.
Lord, keep my heart focused on the Way and wary of foolish distractions.
Proverbs 9.13-15
The woman called Folly is brash, she is naive 
and does not know anything.
So she sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who are passing by her in the way,
who go straight on their way.

Proverbs 10.19-21
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.

20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.
Three proverbs in a row about the lips and tongue remind me to watch mine.
While the proud cheats and cuts moral corners to build uncertain security through wealth, those who humbly walk the Lord's path of integrity and justice will be preserved in the Day of God's wrath.
Lord, I want to humbly walk your firm path of justice and integrity.
Proverbs 11.1-4
1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, 
But a just weight is His delight.

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.
Proverbs 12.25-26
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.
The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
I am thankful for friends who encourage me along the way of wisdom.
Proverbs 13.15-17
Good understanding gains favor,
But the way of the unfaithful is hard.
Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool lays open his folly.
A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
But a faithful ambassador brings health.
The unfaithful treachery of verse 15 stands in contrast to the solid, trustworthy faithfulness that brings health and healing.
Lord, make me an extension of Your faithfulness.
Proverbs 14.15-16
The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps.
A wise man fears and departs from evil,
But a fool rages and is self-confident.
Lord, give me a godly, thoughtful, and humble prudence.
These four proverbs are unified by the metaphor of eating/meals. Our heart's desires and attitude is more important for enjoying a feast than the food.
Proverbs 15.14-17
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. 

15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. 

16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD,
Than great treasure with trouble.

17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
Lord, give me a heart that Feds on Your wisdom and overflows with Your love and integrity.
Verse 32 is a "go to" verse for anger, but it is greatly enriched with the picture of a righteous old person whose experience has taught that God has his hand even in chance decisions.
Lord, help me grow into that seasoned saint who calmly trusts that You are at work.
Proverbs 16.31-33
31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness. 

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.
Every time I read 1 Cor 11 I am struck by the phrase " you despise the church of God...?" especially in the context of how we treat others. A key way we value the church of God is by respecting and being thoughtful and compassionate to the people in His church.
Lord help me to love Your church people the way You do.
There is a difference between friendship and foolishness.
Lord, give me the wisdom to know which is which.
Proverbs 17.17-18
A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.
A close Loyal friend like Jesus who doesn't just like us for how we can help them is a true treasure and asset.
We all smile and acknowledge the treasure of a good wife, but this trio of verses highlights one aspect of that relationship (and other relationships) that makes it so valuable.
Proverbs 18.22-24
22 The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable,
and receives a pleasurable gift from the LORD.
23 A poor person makes supplications,
but a rich man answers harshly. 
24 A person who has friends may be harmed by them,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my closer than a brother friend!
Proverbs 19.20-22
20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

21 There are many plans in a man's heart,
Nevertheless the LORD's counsel—that will stand.

22 What is desired in a man is kindness,
And a poor man is better than a liar.
Am I continuing to listen to instruction, seeking the Lord's direction for my life, and growing in godly wisdom, kindness, and honesty?
Lord help me to pursue you all the way to the end!
Proverbs 20.10-11
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures,
They are both alike, an abomination to the LORD.

11 Even a child is known by his deeds,
Whether what he does is pure and right.
There are some aspects of our integrity that are basic even to children, and how much more to adults. This reminds me of 1 Timothy 4:12.
Lord, help me be the example others can follow.
Proverbs 21.25-27
25 What the sluggard desires will kill him,
for his hands refuse to work.

26 All day long he craves greedily,
but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

27 The wicked person's sacrifice is an abomination;
how much more when he brings it with evil intent!
The selfish, lazy person who gives to God to get is and abomination. Lord, help me work hard and have a generous spirit toward You and others.
These two sayings of the "Thirty wise sayings" remind us that hard work and excellence, not sneaky cheating are God's way to get ahead.
Proverbs 22.28-29
28 Do not remove the ancient landmark
Which your fathers have set. 

29 Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
Proverbs 23.17-18
Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
For surely there is a hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.
Verse 17a becomes a problem when we lose sight of verse 18.
Lord, I want to walk humbly in the constant awareness of who You are and with a zealous focus on my hope. Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Before we are reminded to not fret over evil doers because their end is sure, we are given a strong warning against being glad when our enemies fail. I am thinking about what that all says about my faith and attitudes toward "the opposition."
Proverbs 24.17-18; 19-20
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 

18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked; 

20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Lord, help me to not be weary in well doing and give me the patience to wait on Your timing for promotions and recognition.
Proverbs 25.6-7
Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of the great; 

For it is better that he say to you, "Come up here,"
Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen
Blessed are the peace makers.
Proverbs 26.21-22
As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife. 
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.
Lord, make me a wise encourager and ambassador of reconciliation.
These three-word pictures seem to describe the joy and importance of the relationships God gives us and the emptiness that comes from sacrificing them for elusive temporal happiness.
Proverbs 27.7-9
7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 

8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart,
And the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
Lord, help me have a loyal love for you and the godly people you ha e put in my life.
It is instructive that keeping the law and pity for the poor are contrasted together with those who enrich themselves at other's expense and surround themselves with others who have also given themselves over to self-gratification. Their rejection of wise, compassionate, godliness is a rejection of God that makes Him sick!
Proverbs 28.7-9
Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son,
But a companion of gluttons shames his father.

One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion
Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.
One who turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination
Lord, help me continually listen to and love your good Law with a generous heart.
Sandwiched between two proverbs about the larger socio-political scene is a caution about a danger of hardening your heart and a hint about how to know your heart has become calloused.
Proverbs 28.28-29.2
When the wicked arise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase. 
He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck,
Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Lord, give me that tender heart that is pained by sin and is tender and responsive to your correction.
These verses illustrate the mystery of someone who commits a big sin and doesn't even seem to realize anything is wrong.
Proverbs 30.18-20
There are three things which are too wonderful for me, 
Yes, four which I do not understand: 
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the midst of the sea,
And the way of a man with a virgin.
This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, "I have done no wickedness."
The bottom line in these proverbs is that we should avoid things that compromise our strength or distract us from attention to our responsibilities and godly living (especially if we have leadership responsibilities of any kind).
Proverbs 31.2-5
What, my son? ...
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
Lord, keep me focused on the mission you've given me and do not allow me to be involved with anything that keeps me from running hard for You.

No comments:

Post a Comment