Friday, June 10, 2016

Proverbs in April 2016

Proverbs 1.29-31
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies. 

32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil."
The question for today is, "What's cooking?"
Lord, I want to listen to you and make wise choices to live securely in you.
The purpose of wisdom and discretion in this context is not to keep me from evil men as much as to keep me from being like them.
Proverbs 2.12-15
To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things, 
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths;
Lord, help me think like you, walk in Your ways, and rejoice in what delights you.
Proverbs 3.31-32
Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;

For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.
When I begin to value fruits of sin it reveals a temporal short-sightedness. Solomon warns his son again and again that a close relationship with and favor with Lord is a far greater prize.
Lord, help trust and love You with all my heart, mind, and strength.
These three admonitions (tactics) alone would go a long way toward keeping me faithful to live for the One Who gave Himself for me.
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.
Lord, help me to nurture and guard my heart, say things that please You, and only focus on the way You want me to act and go.
Proverbs 5.3-5
For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
Lord, help me remember Your Word that my parents taught me and not allow the pleasures of sin to dull my discretion and foresight.
When we have done something foolish (or sinful) we do not have the luxury of being proud or lethargic. Humility and decisive action are a great combination.
Proverbs 6.1-3
My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Lord, help me to stay out of traps and give me wise humility and unction if I am in some trouble.

Proverbs 8.17-19
I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.
Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring riches and righteousness.
My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
And my revenue than choice silver.
I think that enduring riches may not refer to my retirement account and savings. I am thinking about what the enduring riches of wisdom are. In what ways are they better than gold?
Lord give me the unction to diligently seek Your wisdom.
The foolish woman and the simpleton are naive because they do not have the understanding of the price to be paid for that sweet and pleasant sin.
Proverbs 9.17-18
"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.
Lord, help me appreciate and value the permanent delights of your wise ways.
Proverbs 10.20-21
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of wisdom.
The righteous have such an overflow than there words bless others, while the tanks of the wicked/foolish are sitting on "E."
Lord, help me have such an abundance of righteous and wisdom that there is an overflow of healthy words to others around me.
Proverbs 11.12-13
He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor,
But a man of understanding holds his peace.
A talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
It is wise to value your neighbors (cup half full or empty?) and not stir up trouble by spreading gossip.
Lord, help me be a force for harmony and good among those who I live, work, and worship with.
When your wisdom is not appreciated (like it normally would be), remember that substance is better than acclaim.
Proverbs 12.8-9
A man will be commended according to his wisdom,
But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.
Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant,
Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.
Lord, help your wisdom have it's good effect in my life, and may I take satisfaction in that.
The foolish resent good counsel and wise principles and so they miss the benefits of following them.
Proverbs 13.13-14
The one who despises instruction will pay the penalty,
but whoever esteems instruction will be rewarded.
Instruction from the wise is like a life-giving fountain,
to turn a person from deadly snares.
Lord, help me appreciate Your guidelines and commands and reap the benefits of following them.
The foolish man is not just a waste of time, but his making light of his sin and not agreeing with God about its seriousness make him bad news for even his "friends." Beware.
Proverbs 14.7-9
Go from the presence of a foolish man,
When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,
But the folly of fools is deceit.
Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is favor.
Lord, I want to know your Word and take my sin a seriously as you do. Save me from foolishness.
These three proverbs work together to highlight the value of a teachable heart that walks in humility before its 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.
Lord, help me to humbly fear You, be a good listener, and gain your timeless wisdom.
Proverbs 16.17-19
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who keeps his way preserves his soul.
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
These three proverbs work together to give the cautionary tale of the person whose over confident pride causes them to think that they can leave right way for morally dubious opportunities. They think they are clever enough to avoid the normal consequences,
Even in the infrequent exceptions, I am better off with my humble, God-fearing spirit among the poor than counting riches with the wicked proud.
That might be a good word for tax season.
Lord, help me love Your way more than temporal rewards.
Proverbs 17.4-5
An evildoer gives heed to false lips;
A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.
He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker;
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
It is a cruel, thoughtless, and stupid heart that insults God by belittling people who are in distress or are disadvantaged. Those who eagerly listen to this talk aren't much better.
Lord, give me a compassionate heart that reverences You and respects Your image all people.
Proverbs doesn't say that honest wealth is bad, but it is a poor substitute for the Lord.
Proverbs 18:10-11
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe. 
The rich man's wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.
Lord, increase my faith in you.
Proverbs 19.2-3 (NET)
It is dangerous to have zeal without knowledge,
and the one who acts hastily makes poor choices.
A person's folly subverts his way,
and his heart rages against the LORD.
Lord, give me a thirst for knowledge, a considered pace, and heart that walks humbly before you, my God.
There is an image of the hard drinking, "I don't take nothing from nobody" persona. It doesn't take a lot of sense or self-control to go through life that way.
Proverbs 20.1-3
Wine is a mocker,
Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion;
Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.
It is honorable for a man to stop striving,
Since any fool can start a quarrel.
Lord, give me the wise heart of a peacemaker like Jesus has.
Proverbs 21.12-13
The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked,
Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.
Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be heard.
I don't think it is an accident that these two proverbs are together. Lord, keep me from having a wicked, hard heart. I want to walk rightly often moved with compassion like Jesus was.
Proverbs 22.24-25
Make no friendship with an angry man, 
And with a furious man do not go,
Lest you learn his ways
And set a snare for your soul.
This is a good reminder of how our friends can shape us and the importance of being intentional about who we spend a lot of time with.
Lord, help me to be wise and to walk with the wise.
This saying of the wise reminds us what is worthwhile and gives an indication that we have let our affection drift.
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.
Lord, keep me looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Active Christ-like compassion and the insight of wisdom to see events with an eternal perspective can be a powerful forces for good.
Proverbs 24.10-12
If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small.
Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Lord, make me strong, and keep me aware that you are always watching, weighing, and rewarding all I do say or thing.
Proverbs 25.23-25
The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
As cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a far country.
I want to be the good news person, especially when it can be The Good News. I think I'll leave the backbiting and contention part to someone else.
Lord, help me to emanate the fragrance of the knowledge of You with a gracious and kind spirit.
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.
The first 12 verses of this chapter describe the obtuse fool. It takes a wise person to know how to deal with one in a given situation.
Lord give me the wisdom and humble, teachable spirit to respond to correction and wise counsel and give me the discernment to deal with those who don't have the aptitude for godly wisdom.
Proverbs 27.14-16
He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
It will be counted a curse to him.
A continual dripping on a very rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike;
Whoever restrains her restrains the wind,
And grasps oil with his right hand.
A friend and wife would normally be a comfort and encouragement, but when they come on too strong...
Lord, help me practice wisdom and remain long-suffering with others.
Proverbs 28.26-27
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
Trusting the Lord is the core of walking wisely and will prompt an attentive and generous spirit.
Lord, help me trust in you and have a generous spirit.
Lord, help me to remember that justice and safety ultimately come only from you.
Proverbs 29.25-27
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.
An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.
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 [purified NET, tested NASB]
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.
In this vast expanse of all God knows and has done it behooves us to seek to understand what God wants us to do rather than second guessing His Word and making adjustments, corrections, and additions to His wise counsel.
Lord, help me to remember who I am (Your humble creation) and appreciate who You are.

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