Friday, June 10, 2016

Proverbs in May 2016

Proverbs 1.20-23
Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: 
"How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
1. A big part of this section seems to speak to a volitional attitude.
2. Wisdom's call seems to have a "conversion" aspect (turn) and an enlightening aspect (make known).
Lord, give me a heart to respond to you, fill me with Your Spirit of wisdom, and cause me to know Your words.
Proverbs two give two things that godly wisdom will deliver a young man (or woman) from; greed and violence and, here, sex outside of marriage (which has consequences).
Lord, help me love and understand your wisdom.
Proverbs 2.16-19
So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.
I am thinking about how the Lord's wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are reflected in his creation.
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.
Proverbs 4.18-19
But the path of the just is like the shining sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect (full) day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know what makes them stumble.
This verse reminds me of 1 John 3.2-3. Lord, give me increasing clarity, desire, and ability to stay in Your way until I see Jesus and am like Him.
Proverbs 5.20-23
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman,
And be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He ponders all his paths.
His own iniquities entrap the wicked man,
And he is caught in the cords of his sin.
He shall die for lack of instruction (discipline),
And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God is watching, weighing, and rewarding all I do, say, or think.
Lord, help me stay aware that all my ways are before you and give me the discipline to walk Your way.
A couple thoughts for Mother's Day
1. I am very grateful for the wise teaching from my parents.
2. As a parent, am I communicating the truths and commands to my children that will lead, keep, and speak to them?
Proverbs 6.20-22
My son, keep your father's command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
When you roam, they will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
At the end of chapter seven about the simpleton and immoral woman we have this warning.
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 (or a great number of) men.
Her house is the way to hell,
Descending to the chambers of death.
And that is one of our favorite delusions. We think we are the exception who will slip through unscathed. "Sin will take you farther than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay."
Lord, give me the humble wisdom to run from what displeases You.
Proverbs 8.11-13
For wisdom is better than rubies,
PmAnd all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
And find out knowledge and discretion. 
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way 
And the perverse mouth I hate.
Lord, give me the prudence and discretion to hate my son and love Yoir way.
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
These verses illustrate some dangers of the short-term, pleasure driven perspective of the fool and simpleton.
Lord, help me to play the long game with eternity in view.
Proverbs 10.1-3
The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, 
But righteousness delivers from death.
The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.
Why would you resort to wickedness to get rich, seeing that all that wealth will not win God's favor? Be wise and bring joy to your mother.
Lord, input Christ's righteousness to me and help me treasure Your right ways.
Proverbs 11.17-18
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul,
But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.

18 The wicked man does deceptive work,
But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
Verse 18 explains why verse 17 is true.
Lord, help me to be true, merciful, and to do right.
Those who reject correction are unlikely to become a good man who will "obtain" God's favor and be securely established.
Proverbs 11.1-3
Whoever loves instruction (or discipline) loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid. 

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
(as in stumbling).
Lord, help me see the value when You correct me. Establish my steps in Your ways.
Proverbs 13.18-19
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
How sweet it is after we have been corrected (or disciplined) to achieve success doing the right thing!
Lord, give me the grace to have sweet success growing in doing right the right way.
Proverbs 14.20-22
The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor,
But the rich has many friends.
He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. 
Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.
I suspect there is a fairly broad definition of neighbor here. We should have mercy on and seek our neighbor's good even though they may be poor and without influence.
Lord, help me to see my neighbors as you do.
This section contrasts the disappointing son who ignorantly loves foolishness with one who values counsel and has wise and timely words that bring joy.
Proverbs 15.20-23
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother. 
Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly.
Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
Lord, help me make my Father glad.
Proverbs sixteen contrasts the "man" who is motivated to work for his needs with the ungodly, perverse, and violent man who seeks his living at the expense of others.
Proverbs 16:25-30
There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

A laborer's appetite works on his behalf,
for his hunger urges him to work.
27 An ungodly man ...
28 A perverse man sows strife...
29 A violent man ...
Lord, keep me to earn my living in a way that honors the Lord and benefits others.
 Proverbs 17.24
Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive,
but a fool’s eyes roam to the ends of the earth.
The key word here is focus. Lord, protect me from frivolous distractions.
Three proverbs on the importance of listening careful and avoiding contentions..
Proverbs 18.17-19
The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.
A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.
Lord, make me an effective peacemaker.
Tucked between the description of this disreputable son who grieves his parents, disregards justice, and reaps unpleasant consequences is the prescription for how a wise son avoids it.
Proverbs 19.26-29
He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.
Cease listening to instruction, my son, 
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A disreputable witness scorns justice,
And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And beatings for the backs of fools.
Lord, keep me listening to you and carefully walking your path.
Proverbs 20.24-25
A man's steps are of the LORD;
How then can a man understand his own way?
It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy,
And afterward to reconsider his vows.
We should be careful running very far ahead of the Lord's direction even in "good" things.
Lord, help me trust you with my life and follow Your direction.
Proverbs 21.26-27
A false witness shall perish,
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.
A wicked man hardens his face,
But as for the upright, he establishes his way.
There is a common thread in the person who falsely acts like the expert until it is discovered that he doesn't speak the truth and the person acts resolute and confident in himself even though his wicked actions are a house of cards.
Lord, make me a thoughtful listener and good repenter who is more concerned with reality than appearance.
Proverbs 22.8-9
He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow,
And the rod of his anger will fail.
He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.
There is a "sowing" of angry iniquity that is not really giving. Eventually it will cave in on itself,
Lord, give me a generous eye that blesses even the poor.
Proverbs 23.4-5
Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings; 
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.
Lord keep my eyes set on You and Your kingdom.
Proverbs 24.5-6
A wise man is strong,
Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;
For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
Lord, I want to be Your wise warrior. Give me the sense of accountability to you that gives courage, righteous justice, and wisdom to be effective for You.
Proverbs 25.21-22
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the LORD will reward you.
These proverbs describe a merciful spirit that does not gloat or seek revenge.  
Lord, give me the generous forgiving spirit and wise confidence in You that prompts kindness and mercy to even my enemies.
Proverbs 26 begins with several proverbs describing fools. These two highlight that fools are unreliable and unable to use wisdom effectively.
Proverbs 26.6-7
He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
Like the legs of the lame that hang limp Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
But as these descriptions paint a more and more dismal picture of the fool, Solomon suddenly identifies a trait that is even more hopeless... a man wise in his own eyes.
Lord, please never let me think I am smarter than You and what You have communicated in Your Word..
Proverbs 27.21-22
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.
Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
Foolishness goes down to the bone, so... Lord, give me a heart of godly wisdom that permeates my whole being.
These verses describe a society in moral disarray. High turnover of rulers, poor oppressing poor, and praise of the wicked.
Lord give me a fear of You that produces righteousness in my life and a clarity about what is just.
Proverbs 28.2-5
Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; 
But by a man of understanding and knowledge r
Right will be prolonged.A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them.Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all.
These verses describe a society in moral disarray. High turnover of rulers, poor oppressing poor, and praise of the wicked.
Proverbs 28.2-5
Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; 
But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged.
A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all.
Lord give me a fear of You that produces righteousness in my life and a clarity about what is just.
Thinking about how much we have as a spiritual  tool instead of a way to get more of what I want is a game changer.
Proverbs 30.7-9
Two things I request of You
Deprive me not before I die:
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.
Proverbs 31.10-12
Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain. 
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
The TWOT defines "trust" as to feel safe. Marriage is a place where untrustworthy is most devastating and debilitating.
Thank you, Lord, for a virtuous wife.

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