Monday, October 26, 2009

Proverbs 11: 26 Blessings or Curses

Today’s verse speaks, again, to the differences between those that are stingy and those who are generous, and the way these types of attitudes work on a person’s life.

Proverbs 11: 26 (NKJV)

26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

Today’s key words are defined as follows:

curse: 1. a. An appeal or prayer for evil or misfortune to befall someone or something. b. The evil or misfortune that comes in or as if in response to such an appeal

withhold: 1. To keep in check; restrain. 2. To refrain from giving, granting, or permitting

blessing: 1. the act of invoking divine protection or aid 2. the words or ceremony used for this 3. the bestowal of a divine gift or favour

This verse speaks of people who have control something of importance to others. Something that is important to the very “lives” of the people around them. The first part talks about the way people feel toward those that “horde” this important commodity, in this case, the grain. Grain, being a staple food in the culture of the times, stood for either being physically well fed, or being weakened from not having enough for self or family. A person that had this important commodity and refrained from giving it or permitting it to be sold, would anger those around him, and bring on their disgust and even hatred.

The second part of today’s verse tells how people, and, God, will provide protection and aid to those who provide for a way for people to acquire the much needed commodity. As we see, throughout the Bible, GOD is our provider and the one who bestows true “blessings” to those who are generous in their hearts.

The story of the woman that had only enough for one more meal for her son and herself when the prophet Elijah came to ask her for food, gives us an example of what can happen when we are willing to part with something that is very important to us, even if it is the last of that “thing.” She was willing to share, and because of her generosity, even in her desperate situation, God blessed her with plenty to get by until the famine was over. He took her THROUGH this storm in her life, BECAUSE of her generosity, and shortly after that, the Lord used him to bring her son back to life! You can read the first part of this story in I Kings 17: 8-16.

Elijah and the Widow

8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Proverbs 11: 25 Generosity

Today’s verse continues with the theme of our last verse. It speaks of the blessings that come to those who are generous toward others.

Proverbs 11: 25 (NKJV)
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

First, let’s look at the definitions of the main words in this verse:

generous: 1. willing and liberal in giving away one's money, time, etc.; munificent 2. free from pettiness in character and mind 3. full or plentiful

rich: 1. Possessing great material wealth: 2. Having great worth or value 3. Magnificent; sumptuous 4. a. Having an abundant supply b. Abounding, especially in natural resources 5. Meaningful and significant 6. Very productive and therefore financially profitable

water: Basic life giving fluid

We can see that those that are willing and liberal in giving of their time, money, etc. and are free from pettiness in their inner beings will be blessed, or “made” to be rich. This could be in worth or value in God’s, and other men’s sight, as well as, in material wealth. HE will bless with abundant supplies and help them to be productive (maybe with an idea or creative thought), which can also lead to financial abundance.

This verse goes on to say that those that those that gives of the basic fluid of life, will receive back the same life from God. Jesus is called “the living water” or the “water of life,” and this is shown in the story of the “Woman at the Well” found in
John 4: 7 – 14:

7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Proverbs 11: 24 Poverty or Abundance

NOTE: I have been sick and had a family crisis, so haven’t been able to write recently, but will continue with this study as often as I am able to. I am sorry for the delay…

Proverbs 11: 24 (NKJV)

24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.

scatter: sow by scattering;

increase 1. To become greater or larger. 2. To multiply; reproduce.

withholds: 1. To keep in check; restrain. 2. To refrain from giving, granting, or permitting

poverty: 1. the condition of being without adequate food, money, etc. 2. scarcity or dearth

One of the definitions of “scatter” speaks of “sowing” by scattering, and in the Bible, “sowing” is often equated with planting things of God… giving to others, helping others, etc. The first part of this verse indicates that those who plant/sow things of God will be blessed and will become greater or reproduce those things as God uses the things they have given Him. See the following verses as examples of this principle:

1 Corinthians 3:6-8 (NKJV)
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

2 Corinthians 9: 9 &10 (NKJV)
9 As it is written: “ He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness…

The second part of today’s verse speaks of the person who doesn’t give freely, but “refrains” from giving and even keeps back the things that he KNOWS it would be right to give. Because of the hardness of this type of person’s heart, he will NOT be blessed and this type of “stinginess” tends to bring about poverty.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Proverbs 11: 23 The Righteous Desire Good

Proverbs 11: 23 (NKJV)

23 The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Today’s verse is another contrast between those that are righteous and those that are wicked. It is fairly self-explanatory. Righteous people’s ONLY desire, in everything they do or say, is to bring about good, while the only thing that those that choose to live a wicked life can expect is to find God’s wrath.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Proverbs 11: 22 Women Without Discretion

Today’s verse tells us what God thinks about women who lack discretion…

Proverbs 11: 22 (NKJV)
22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout,
So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

The word "discretion" means: 1. The quality of being discreet; circumspection 2. Ability or power to decide responsibly.

If someone put a “ring of gold” in a pig’s nose, it wouldn’t be seen as being very pretty because the filth that most pigs live in, will, very quickly, make it be soiled beyond recognition. This is the way that God feels about a woman who is not discreet and doesn’t take the time to learn to act responsibly. No matter how pretty the woman is to look at, she will quickly lose that “loveliness” as disgust at her lack of integrity make themselves known.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Proverbs 11: 21 Punishment & Deliverance

Today’s verse contrasts, from a different angle, the difference between those that are wicked and those that are righteous.

Proverbs 11: 21 (NKJV)
21 Though they join forces,[Literally- hand to hand] the wicked will not go unpunished
But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.

Posterity: 1. future generations 2. all of one's descendants

This verse lets us know that, even though wicked men join together to cause problems for others, they will eventually be punished. We know, from so many verses in God’s Word, the Bible, that even if they “SEEM” to prosper here on earth, if they don’t change their ways and repent (turn away from) their evil doing, then they will end up in Hell.

Many people DO NOT want to think about there really being a Hell or place of everlasting fire, but there are so many places in the Bible that they have to ignore to continue “hiding their head in the sand.” (Matt. 5: 22 & 29-30 – Matt. 18:9 -- Luke 16:23 – 2 Peter 2:4 & Rev. 20: 11-15 are just a few ) Many people try to make God into something that He is not, by ignoring the things they DON’T want to hear from His Word, but that will not work for He IS God and He is the same yesterday, today AND tomorrow.

Throughout the whole Bible, we find examples of the countries that were practicing evil things, and worshiping “gods” that they created in their own minds, that ended up being WIPED OUT TOTALLY for doing that. Many of the prophecies for the end times speak of a “great army” coming against God’s people—“they join forces” – but God, Himself, fights for those that are following Him!

THAT brings us to the second half of today’s verse, for its promise is that future generations, or all of a person’s descendants of those that follow Him, WILL be delivered, and that tends to mean that they will eventually end up in Heaven! NOW is the time to chose which side we want to be on!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Proverbs 11: 20 A Perverse Heart vs. the Blameless

“Abomination” is a very strong word, and today’s verse tells us about people who, the Lord says, are “abominations” to Him.

Proverbs 11: 20 (NKJV)
20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight.

As usual, we will start out by looking at the definitions of the main words in our verse:

As we have seen before, the word “perverse” means: 1. Directed away from what is right or good; perverted. 2. Obstinately persisting in an error or fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn. 3. Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict. 4. Cranky; peevish.

“Abomination” means: 1. a person who is loathsome or disgusting 2. hate coupled with disgust 3. an action that is vicious or vile; an action that arouses disgust or abhorrence;

“Blameless” is defines as: Free of blame or guilt; innocent. It is synonymous with: innocent, clean, upright, honest, virtuous, untarnished, and above suspicion.

The definition of the word, “delight” is:
1. Great pleasure; joy. 2. Something that gives great pleasure or enjoyment.

With these definitions in mind, we can see that a person who purposely tries to turn people away from what is right or good, obstinately persists in error and is wrongly self-willed, stubborn, contradictory, cranky, and/or peevish, God finds loathsome or disgusting.

The second part of this verse tells us that those that are innocent, clean, upright, honest, virtuous, untarnished, and above suspicion, give God great pleasure and joy.

I know that, at times, I can be some of those bad things, like being stubborn, cranky, and peevish, etc., and I need to remember the way God looks at those traits. Instead, I need to strive to let His Holy Spirit cleanse me from those things and instill in me the things that He will delight in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Proverbs 11: 19 Life or Death…

Today’s verse summarizes and reiterates the theme of this Book of Proverbs and simply restates it.

Proverbs 11: 19 (NKJV)

19 As righteousness leads to life,
So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.

We’ve seen that “righteousness” means someone who is living morally, virtuously, and without guilt or sin, and today’s verse says that this type of living leads to life. I believe that, in the context given, this is talking about eternal life.

The second half of the verse shows the negative of the picture given in the first part. IT restates the theme that “pursuing evil” will lead to the pursuer’s eternal death.