Sunday, July 16, 2017

Proverbs -- June 2017

These four sayings capture the heart of chapter one. A fear of the Lord that builds respect for the parents works against the call of the gangs and others who desire easy money.
Proverbs 1.7-10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;
For they will be a graceful ornament on your head,
And chains about your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
Lord, give me the grace to fear You, heed my parents godly counsel, and successfully rests temptation.
Verses 9-10 are part of an "if-then pattern." I am thinking about why these particular three traits are are part of all good paths. Wisdom and knowledge are used in a doing, not theoretical sense.
Proverbs 2.9-10
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

10 When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Lord, give me the wise heart (the new man) that follows in Your ways.
Proverbs 3.33-35
The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.
Isa 57.15; James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5
Lord, grant me the humility to receive Your rich grace.
Proverbs 4.10-11
10. Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
11. I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
Have I both taught and led?
These three verses in the NLT conclude the lament of the man (or woman?) who has chosen a life of immorality.
Proverbs 5.12-14
12 You will say, "How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!

13 Oh, why didn't I listen to my teachers?
Why didn't I pay attention to my instructors?

14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace."
Lord, help me live a faithful and pure life free of regrets.
Proverbs repeatedly enjoins us to remember and follow our parents' teaching. Hearing and internalizing the Word from a young age is foundational.
Proverbs 6.21-22
20 My son, keep your father's command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother. 

21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck. 

22 When you roam, they will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
Lord, help me to continually remember and embrace Your Truth.
Proverbs 7.4-5
Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"
And call understanding your nearest kin,
That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.
These two sayings remind me of the quote, "The Bible will keep you from sin. Or sin will keep you from the Bible." This is an oft repeated theme in Proverbs.
Lord, help me love Your wisdom and Word more than the wrong ways.
Lady Wisdom calls out to the simple and foolish, so it is hard to be under qualified receive her message.
Proverbs 8.3-5
3 She cries out by the gates,
at the entry of the city, 

At the entrance of the doors: 

4 "To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men. 

5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
Lord, give me an attentive heart and listening ears for Your wisdom.
"Lady Wisdom" calls out to the foolish and simple ones but has this to say to the scoffer.
Proverbs 9.7-9
7 "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. 

8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
Lord, keep my heart soft and tender toward you.
What brings my heart joy?
Proverbs 10.22-23 (net)
22 The blessing from the LORD makes a person rich,
and he adds no sorrow to it.

23 Carrying out a wicked scheme is enjoyable to a fool,
and so is wisdom for the one who has discernment.
Lord, let me joyfully enjoy Your blessing and Your ways.
Verse 14 lays out the principle and, 15 gives an example of the kind of thing that happens when 14 is not active.
Proverbs 11:14-15
14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; 
But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. 

15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, 
But one who hates being surety is secure.

Thank you, Lord, for godly and wise counsellors. Please give me the sense and resolve to follow their good counsel.
"These verses are framed by the "inclusio" heart (20a, 23b), moving from the deceit the heart plans to the folly it proclaims." --Waltke
Proverbs 12.20-23
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
But counselors of peace have joy. 

21 No grave trouble will overtake the righteous,
But the wicked shall be filled with evil.

22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.
Lord, help me be a joyful counselor of peace who walks in integrity.
Proverbs 13.18-19
18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. 

19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Lord, help love Your way and value a timely admonition when I depart from it.
Proverbs 14.25 
A true witness delivers souls, 
But a deceitful witness speaks lies.
The emphasis on the truthful witness to deliver the innocent instead of to convict the guilty speaks to our orientation as well as our character.
Lord, give me a noble, chivalrous, and honest heart and mouth.
These two sayings illustrate how character flaws can make our path more difficult than it needs to be.
Proverbs 15:18-19
18 A wrathful man stirs up strife,
But he who is slow to anger allays contention. 

19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns,
But the way of the upright is a highway.
Lord, help me be slow to anger, hard working, and upright in Your ways.
This is the 2nd of 3 couplets about The King that highlight the importance of righteousness / uprightness.
Proverbs 16.12-13. (net)
12 Doing wickedness is an abomination to king,
because a throne is established in righteousness. 

13 The delight of kings is righteous counsel,
and they love the one who speaks uprightly.

Righteous; tsedeq- justice, rightness, righteousness
Uprightly: yashar- straight, upright, correct, right
Even so come quickly, King Jesus.
Quick to forgive and open to correction make a great relational combo.
Proverbs 17.9-10
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool.
Lord, give me a patient, humble spirit.
22b repeats the thought of Lady Wisdom in 8:35 and implies that finding a wife is on par with finding wisdom. (Aitken).
Proverbs 18.22
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD.
Lord, thank you for a good wife.
How often I hear my own father's voice echo in the "My son" proverbs. I want to be like John Martin when I grow up.
One disregards his duty because of sloth and the other because of a "couldn't care less" attitude..
Proverbs 19.15-16
15 Laziness casts one into a deep sleep,
And an idle person will suffer hunger. 

16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul,
But he who is careless [or disregards, despises] of his ways will die.
Lord, help me to be diligent and careful about following Your path.
These two sayings contrast dishonest short cuts with wise counsel and planning.
Proverbs 20.17-18
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. 

18 Plans are established by counsel;
By wise counsel wage war.
Lord, give me the patience to do things your way.
The passivity and greed of sloth contrasted with the proactive generosity.
Proverbs 21.25-26
25 The desire of the lazy man kills him,
For his hands refuse to labor. 

26 He covets greedily all day long,
But the righteous gives and does not spare.
Lord, make me a productive giver like Jesus.
Verse seven is often used as a caution against debt, but the next two verses seem to put it in the context of warning against this practice of taking advantage of the poor.
Proverbs 22.7-9
7 The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender. 

8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow,
And the rod of his anger will fail. 

9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed,
For he gives of his bread to the poor.
Lord, help me to have your generous eye.
This saying begins the second section of the 30 Sayings of the Wise. The Hebrew word translated "apply" Is sometimes also translated "enter,"
Proverbs 23.12
Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.
Lord, help me enter into your wisdom and wise ways.
Proverbs 24.23-26
These things also belong to the wise:
It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous,"
Him the people will curse; 
Nations will abhor him.
But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.
He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.
Lord, help me love what You love and hate what you hate. Give me the discernment, courage, and integrity to rebuke the wicked.
Proverbs 25.1-3
1 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied: 
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 

3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, 
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
1. It takes a team. Solomon coined and collected these sayings which were much later assembled and organized by the staff of another king,
2. In a smaller sense of how God understands a vast creation, a king should know and discern the workings of his kingdom. Solomon acknowledged this in 1 Kings 3.7-9.
Verses 6-10 form a chiastic set about the fool. 6 & 7 are connected with legs and feet imagery.
Proverbs 26
6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.

7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
These two sayings proceed two that exhort us to resolve conflict with others highlighting the reason that is soooo important.
Proverbs 27.3-4
3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
But a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them.

4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent,
But who is able to stand before jealousy?
Lord, please make me a good peacemaker who keeps short accounts.
These three sayings work together to remind us that the man who chooses poverty over dishonesty is better than the evil and those who praise them that might find temporary riches by their wicked actions.
Proverbs 28:4-6
4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But such as keep the law contend with them. 

5 Evil men do not understand justice, 
But those who seek the LORD understand all. (Or understand fully, completely) 

6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Lord, help me walk in integrity with my eyes on what is eternal.
Both these sayings contrast the calm wise person to the fool who vents his anger and/or ridicule.
Proverbs 29.8-9
8 Scoffers set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away wrath.

9 If a wise man contends with a foolish man,
Whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace.
Lord, turn me from anger and ridicule to your path of peace.
Proverbs 30.32-33
If you have been foolish in exalting yourself,
Or if you have devised evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For as the churning of milk produces butter, 
And wringing the nose produces blood,
So the forcing of wrath produces strife.
"Tact is thinking twice before saying...
nothing." Sometimes we need to just stop talking.
Lord, make me better at doing this.

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