Saturday, May 6, 2017

September 2016 Meditations and Prayers from Proverbs

It seems that we have this idea of Proverbs as this sentimental book of witty sayings, but in fact, there are some rather severe warnings like this one in chapter one where it warns the "son" against ignoring wisdom for too long.

Proverbs 1.27-28
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
 28 "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.

Lord, help me to be prompt and enthusiastic to your calls 
on my life.


E.V. Hills preached a sermon "What You Have When You Have Jesus." After three verses imploring the search for wisdom, understanding, discernment, etc. these verses tell some of what you have when you have Wisdom.

Proverbs 2.5-8
5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, 
And find the knowledge of God. 
 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; 
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
 8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.

Lord, help me understand the knowledge and fear of you.


Proverbs 3.1-2
My son, do not forget my law, 
But let your heart keep my commands; 
For length of days and long life 
And peace they will add to you.

We have learned to "do" what we should or what we have to, but this father calls on us to give the body of the command life by having our heart in it.

Lord, help me love and obey You with all my heart.


If we tend to be like those you spend the most time with, then if you want some respect...

Proverbs 4.8-9
Exalt her (Wisdom), and she will promote you; 
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; 
A crown of glory she will deliver to you."


In the middle of a chapter that argues against immoral relationships and for an exclusive marriage relationship, Solomon reminds us of three consequences of leaving his wise council in this area. And they are still true today.

Proverbs 5.9-11
9 Lest you give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
10 Lest aliens be filled with your wealth,
And your labors go to the house of a foreigner
11 And you mourn at last,
When your flesh and your body are consumed,

Lord, help me not depart from your wise words.


Some sins are more serious than others as this comparison between the starving thief and adulterer illustrates. The not so subtle implication is that it takes a special kind of stupid to get involved with another man's wife.

Proverbs 6:30-32
30 People do not despise a thief 
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 
 31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; 
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.

Lord, help me bind my heart to your commands and walk in Your ways.


Proverbs 7.10-12
And there a woman met him,
With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.
 She was loud and rebellious,
Her feet would not stay at home.
At times she was outside, at times in the open square,
Lurking at every corner.

I am thinking about the contrasts between this woman and the family-focused, meek, spiritual woman described in 1 Peter 3.1-6. She stands with the industrious wife of Proverbs 31 is a sharp contrast to this floozy.


Justice and righteousness are often not the path to lots of temporal wealth, but there is a wealth that is better than silver and gold.

Proverbs 8.20-21
(Wisdom speaking)
I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.

Lord, lead me in the paths of righteousness and justice.


These three sayings conclude the section about Lady Wisdom in this chapter with an appeal to the simple to consider the benefits of wisdom and understanding and the consequences of rejecting them.

Proverbs 9.10-12
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone."


Every path leads somewhere.

Proverbs 10.7-10 [net]
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the reputation of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise person accepts instructions,
but the one who speaks foolishness will come to ruin.
9 The one who conducts himself in integrity will live securely,
but the one who behaves perversely will be found out.
 10 The one who winks his eye causes trouble,
and the one who speaks foolishness will come to ruin.


Three of these four sayings are directly related by their subject, righteousness / the righteous. Righteousness directs and delivers the righteous from many of the entanglements, pitfalls, and destinies that wickedness lays in the paths of the wicked.

Proverbs 11.5-8
5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.
 7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of the unjust perishes.
8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,
And it comes to the wicked instead.

Lord, give me the wisdom and resolve to stay in your righteous way.


Verses 13-14 from the conclusion to the first half of this chapter. The wicked man sets a trap for himself. The righteous person's speech/deeds bring a different result.

Proverbs 12.13-14
13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will come through trouble.
14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth,
And the recompense of a man's hands will be rendered to him.

Lord, help me to speak and do good for You.


Proverbs 13.1
A wise son heeds his father's instruction,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

And not just sons... The aptitude to identify and value wise instruction (discipline) is both the path to and a key characteristic of wisdom.

Lord, help me love and follow your instruction and correction.


The results of contrasting attitudes toward the Lord and His ways are featured in verse two. The fear of the Lord keeps us walking in His wise ways and away from the foolishness that creates grief for us.

Proverbs 14.1-3
1 The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD,
But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.
 3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride,
But the lips of the wise will preserve them.

Lord, help me to hallow You by walking in Your righteous and wise ways.


Verses 10-11 work together to highlight the consequences of the unrepentant rejection of the way and the certainty of justice because of God's omniscience. Twelve reinforces the incorrigibility of the scoffer.

Proverbs 15.10-12
10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, 
And he who hates correction will die.
11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; 
So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.
12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him,
Nor will he go to the wise.

Lord, help me to be an excellent "repenter."


These two saying are the center two of six about good earthly kings (rulers) and The King. They highlight the importance of doing what is ethically right and receiving counsel to do what is right.

Proverbs 16.11-13
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness.
 13 Righteous lips (counsel) are the delight of kings,
And they love him who speaks what is right.

Lord, I long for The Righteous King to rule the earth in the future and in my life now. Help, me to love righteousness.


The best time to stop a fight is before it starts.

Lord, help me to be a peacemaker.

Proverbs 17.14 (HCSB)
To start a conflict is to release a flood;
stop the dispute before it breaks out.


Proverbs 18.20-21
20 A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

These proverbs speak of more than physical wages or clinical life and death. The tongue can isolate the owner from the community or bring him the enjoyment and fellowship of the community. The NLT explains it this way...
"Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction.
The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences."

Be careful little mouth what you say.


These verses describe a chaotic society of dishonest corruption and tipsy turvy incompetence where the fool is promoted and the servants have to actually run things (like Nabel). Nine is worded in a way that reminds us that these wrongs will eventually be righted.

Proverbs 18.9-10
9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who speaks lies shall perish.
10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool,
Much less for a servant to rule over princes.


Van Leeuwenhoek observes that, "Taken together, the two sayings present an ironic between the good for which one haggles and priceless wisdom."

Proverbs 20.15-16
"It is good for nothing," cries the buyer;
But when he has gone his way, then he boasts.
There is gold and a multitude of rubies,
But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Lord help me be a good haggler that understands and values Your priceless wisdom.


These two verses contrast the excessive consumption of fine things with the equally extravagant pursuit of righteous and mercy.

Proverbs 21.20-21
20 There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.
21 He who follows righteousness and mercy
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.

I'm thinking about the connection between righteousness and mercy.


Saying four of The Thirty Sayings of the Wise reminds us of a wise limit to generosity and the desire to help a friend, etc.

Proverbs 22.26-27
Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge,
One of those who is surety for debts;
If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take away your bed from under you?

Lord, don't let my good judgment be swept away by compassion.


The Lord will advocate for the downtrodden. This "Saying of the Wise" gives a practical guideline for being on the Lord's side.

Proverbs 23.10-11
10 Do not remove the ancient landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
11 For their Redeemer is mighty;
He will plead their cause against you.


Proverbs 24.15-16 (nlt)
Don't wait in ambush at the home of the godly,
and don't raid the house where the godly live.
The godly may trip seven times,
but they will get up again.
But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

Thank you, Lord, for supplying the ability to get up again.


Proverbs 25.1
"These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:"

This introduction to thIs section of Proverbs reminds us that those who collected and arranged the Proverbs also had a hand (through choices about which to include in what order) in giving meaning to the book. God is looking for people with the talent to play first fiddle and the humility to play second.

Lord, help me add value to other's work and ministry.


These three sayings.are the last three of six about the hateful person and remind us he will be revealed for what he is at some point.

Proverbs 26.26-28
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
 28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

Lord, help me be true and full of love.


These two sayings can be paired as a reminder to thoughtfully check our hearts for the insatiable desires (consumerism) that plague us all.

Proverbs 27.19-20
19 As in water face reflects face, 
So a man's heart reveals the man. 
Hell and Destruction are never full; 
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Lord, help me mortify in myself inordinate affections, evil desires, and covetousness (which is idolatry).

Pride and riches are often combined as a corrupting force, but the poor who keeps hearing the law can understand and resist his corrupting influence.

Proverbs 28.9-11
9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.
10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way,
He himself will fall into his own pit;
But the blameless will inherit good.
11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding searches him out.

Lord, help me be swayed in my thinking and perception only by your word.


These three sayings reinforce the importance of consistent discipline, rebuke, and correction of children. Successful parenting brings joy to the parents and the larger society.

Proverbs 29.15-17
15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, 
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. 
16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; 
But the righteous will see their fall. 
17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; 
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.


Proverbs 30.10 
Do not malign (slander) a servant to his master, 
Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.

"This stands appropriately enough between the prayer of 7–9 and the portraits of 11–14, for arrogance (11) breeds oppression (14), while the fear of God (7–9) engenders respect for the weak. If the servant is innocent, his curse will count (cf. 26:2), for there is a Judge." --Derek Kidner in the Tyndall Comm. on the OT

Lord, help me remember to bless and encourage those who serve me in business and stores, etc.


Among all the qualities of this Proverbs Woman we find this triad of wisdom, kindness, and industry which we do not always see together. Wisdom is the law of kindness.

Proverbs 31.26-27
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, 
And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 
27 She watches over the ways of her household, 
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

Lord, help me be industrious, wise, AND kind.

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