Saturday, May 6, 2017

October 2016 Proverbs Meditations and Prayers

After admonishing the son to listen to his parents, reject the siren song of those who walk the way of greed and violence, and turn from simplicity, foolishness, and scorning to the love of wisdom this sharp warning is given

Proverbs 1.24-26
Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,

Lord, give me a heart that is prompt to love you and follow Your wise way.


It is notable how the "father" is confident that what he is teaching will lead the son to spiritual soundness and away from sin. 

Proverbs 2.1-2
My son, if you receive my words, 
And treasure my commands within you, 
So that you incline your ear to wisdom, 
And apply your heart to understanding;

Lord, may the things I say direct others to the fear and knowledge of You.


These are the last three of a six verse description of the character of what you have when you find Wisdom (and understanding).

Proverbs 3.16-18
16 Length of days is in her [Wisdom's] right hand, 
In her left hand riches and honor. 
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, 
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.

Lord, help me experience the peace and life that come with Your Wisdom.


As I read today, I was struck (again) by how many sayings in Proverbs are devoted to the topic of paying attention to, remembering, and internalizing teaching. It's almost like we should be spending time in the Word every day and think about it all the time.

Proverbs 4.20-22
My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.

Lord, help me read, meditate on, and love your Word every day.


Speaking of the danger of the immoral woman ...
Proverbs 5.6-8 (net)
6 She doesn’t consider the path of life;
She doesn’t know that her ways are unstable.
7 So now, my sons, listen to me,
And don’t turn away from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her. 
Don’t go near the door of her house.

The admonition to "pay attention" and "maintain discretion" in verse one stands in contrast to the immoral woman who does not "consider the path of life." We have to THINK about what's going on and how it fits with God's wise way. How often is our response to some calamity, moral or otherwise, "I don't know what I was thinking?"

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.
 Lord, keep me thinking about Your teaching about my life path and keep me far from moral pitfalls.


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.

Stealing is bad, but adultery... now that's industrial strength stupid and dangerous on a deeper level.

Lord, watch over my heart and help me walk with you.


Proverbs 7.13-14
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.

The simple son and the immoral woman seem to see sacrifices and ceremonies as an acceptable substitute for the spiritual obedience and righteousness that please the Lord. Jesus said we should follow the commands AND give attention to the weightier matters.

Lord, help me go beyond religious actions to true religion.


Reflecting on the ancient and timeless nature of wisdom. It predates all cultures and is entwined in manifold aspects of creation.

Proverbs 8.24-28
When there were no depths
I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, 
I was brought forth.
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens,
I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,


Wisdom personified calls out...
Proverbs 9.4-6
"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
"Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
Forsake foolishness and live, 
And go in the way of understanding..."

These verses remind me of John 6, where Jesus is the bread, and several verses in Acts that speak of repenting and of turning from idols, etc. to God.

Lord, help me forsake foolishness and follow in your way with all my heart.


Proverbs 10-31-32
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
But the perverse tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

1. Verse 31 makes a statement and 32 gives the reason.
2. Note the connection between the righteous and wisdom. It's not either or.
3. The word "perverse" ( tahpukah) is from a root with the idea of turning or overturning.

Lord, give me a righteous heart that knows what is wise and acceptable to your righteous ways.


Though we generally associate Proverbs with wisdom, it has a lot to say about the righteous in whom the Lord delights and are on the path of life. The pursuit of evil will not end well even though the wicked join together against the Lord.

Proverbs 11.19-21
As righteousness leads to life,
So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD,
But the blameless in their ways are His delight.
Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished;
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.

Lord, thank you for the righteousness of Christ. Help me make is a reality in my daily walk.


These have to do with the plans of the wicked directed toward the perversion of justice as they entrap and attack the innocent or upright citizen. It is the job of the righteous to oppose them with the assurance that the Lord will overthrow the wicked as some point in this life or the next.

Proverbs 12.5-7
The thoughts of the righteous are right,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
The words of the wicked are, "Lie in wait for blood,"
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.

Lord, give me the wisdom and courage to stand up for the innocent.


Proverbs 13.7-8
7 There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.
8 The ransom of a man's life is his riches,
But the poor does not hear rebuke.

It would probably be silly to read these sayings to mean riches are completely undesirable, but they can have a way of owning us and tieing us down.

Proverbs 30.7-9 is my prayer today.


The wise patience that flows from confidence in a sovereign God is good for us.

Proverbs 14.29-30
29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive (or quick tempered) exalts folly.
30 A sound (tranquil) heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Lord, help me to be thoughtful and full of faith in You.


These verses are a warning to those who are wicked (with even their religious acts being rejected), but refuse to heed the correction that leads to life.

Proverbs 15.8-10
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves him who follows righteousness. 
 10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,
And he who hates correction will die.

Lord, help me live a life that is a delight to you and be quick to heed correction when I don't.


"Since the Lord assumes ownership of the disciple's initiatives (v.1), and He alone can evaluate the purity of the motive behind them (v.2), the disciple should commit his ways to the LORD (v.3) to establish them permanently, outlasting the wicked person's triumphs (v,3b)." --Bruce Waltke

Proverbs 16.1-3
1 The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the spirits.
3 Commit (lit. roll) your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.

Lord, establish my ways in Your way.


Verses 23 and 26 speak of the perversion of justice by the son whose wondering heart has caused him to become a grief to his parents.

Proverbs 17.23-26
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice.
 24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 
 25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.
26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.

Lord, give me a heart that understands the importance of seeking and walking in your wisdom.


These sayings remind me of the children's song that includes the words,
"Be careful little tongue what you say,
For your Father up above is looking down in tender love,

Proverbs 18.20-21 (nlt)
20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; 
the right words bring satisfaction.
21 The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Lord, help my words be good few and true.


These two sayings emphasize the importance of a focus on consistent, life-giving discipling disciple instead of a focus on rescuing "sons" from the consequences of their repeated foolishness.

Proverbs 19.18-19
18 Chasten your son while there is hope,
And do not set your heart on his destruction.
19 A man of great wrath will suffer punishment;
For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.

Lord, help me to be faithful and consistent in discipling my children.


These two sayings remind us that in spite of our natural inclinations to overlook our own sinfulness, when measured by The King's righteousness and piercing gaze, we all fall short of the glory of God.

Proverbs 20.8-9
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
Scatters all evil with his eyes.
Who can say,
"I have made my heart clean, 
I am pure from my sin"?

Thank You, Lord, for the righteousness of Christ imputed to me.


The one who wanders from the way of the Lord is described in terms of foolishness, dissipation, and wickedness. Eventually, the righteous will be delivered.

Proverbs 21.16-18
16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding 
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; 
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich. 
 18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous,
And the unfaithful for the upright.

Lord, keep me true and walking after You in all my ways.


Just because you can doesn't mean you should. The Lord is watching weighing, and rewarding all I do, say, and think.

Proverbs 22.22-23
Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate;
For the LORD will plead their cause,
And plunder the soul of those who plunder them.

Lord, help me walk in the fear of You and with Your heart of compassion for the oppressed.


It is noteworthy that this warning against alcohol (or by extension drug abuse) is so much longer than the other "30 Wise Sayings."

Proverbs 23.29-35
29 Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints? 
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
 30 Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35 "They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?"

Lord, give my the spirit of self-control and discipline.


This is one of those places where knowing wisdom is described in similar terms to how we would describe our salvation.

Proverbs 24.13-14
My son, eat honey because it is good,
And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;
If you have found it, there is a prospect, 
And your hope will not be cut off.

Lord, thank You for the "sweetness" and "prospect" I have in knowing you.

The humble attitude of, "Let's talk about this," is much safer than the rash, "I'll see you in court!"

Proverbs 25.8-10
Do not go hastily to court;
For what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor has put you to shame?
Debate your case with your neighbor, 
And do not disclose the secret to another;
Lest he who hears it expose your shame,
And your reputation be ruined.

Lord, give me the humility to realize that I may be wrong or in a weak position and the cooperative attitude to talk with people about our conflicts and misunderstandings.


These are the first three of a six verse unit on sneaky haters. They provide warning about them and a caution to not be one.

Proverbs 25.23-25 (nlt)
Smooth words may hide a wicked heart,
just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
but they're deceiving you.
They pretend to be kind,
but don't believe them.
Their hearts are full of many evils. (Lit. seven abominations)

Lord, help me to be wise and discerning and to love You and others in sincerity and truth.


Here is a good reminder to have a plan and keep up with it. It kind of reminds me of the parables of the talents in the NT.

Proverbs 27.23-27
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds.
For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
The lambs will provide your clothing,
And the goats the price of a field;
You shall have enough goats' milk for your food,
For the food of your household,
And the nourishment of your maidservants.

Lord, help me to be diligent and not grow weary in well doing.

This is a vivid reminder of just how far greed/pride (from rä·khäv': roomy, in any (or every) direction, literally or figuratively:—broad, large, at liberty, proud, wide) can take us from the way of wisdom, and just how warped our thinking can become when we are in its grip.

Proverbs 28.24.25
Whoever robs his father or his mother,
And says, "It is no transgression,"
The same is companion to a destroyer.
He who is of a proud ( or greedy) heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.

Lord, help me alway trust in you by being humble and content.


These verses seem to illustrate how complicity and collusion with evil men fits in with the opposites of fearing man and trusting God.

Proverbs 29.24-25 (net)
Whoever shares with a thief is his own enemy;
he hears the oath to testify, but does not talk.
The fear of people becomes a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD will be set on high.

Lord, help me fear and trust You above all.


Proverbs 30.15-17
The leech has two daughters—Give and Give!
There are three things that are never satisfied,
Four never say, "Enough!":
The grave,
The barren womb,
The earth that is not satisfied with water—
And the fire never says, "Enough!"
 The eye that mocks his father,
And scorns obedience to his mother,
The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
And the young eagles will eat it.

Lord, you satisfy my every need. Help me praise and obey You.


Two verses that dad's should teach to and model for their children.

Proverbs 31.28-29
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all."

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