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.

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.