Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Proverbs 4:10 – 22

Today we will be looking at verses 10 through 22 of chapter 4. Most of these verses simply state in different words, the same things that we have studied in the first couple of chapters of this book. I think that they are pretty self explanatory after the word studies we have done before. Let’s read the verses.

Proverbs 4: 10 - 22 (NKJV)

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.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;

Keep her, for she is your life.

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not walk in the way of evil.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil;
And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, (literally – light)
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

19 The way of the wicked is like darkness,
They do not know what makes them stumble.

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

As you can see, in summary, wise living adds to your life in every way, while we are warned against following the paths of evil for it only brings pain and sorrow in the end.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Proverbs 4: 5 – 9

Today we are looking at the next five verses of chapter 4:

Proverbs 4: 5 - 9 (NKJV)

5 Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, 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.”

Last time we saw that Solomon was talking to his sons, and trying to pass along the wisdom that he had learned during his life and from the teachings of his father, King David (which God called a “man after His own heart.”)

He repeats, emphatically, the need for wisdom and understanding, and asks that these things NOT be forgotten or turned away from. He begs them/us not to forsake wisdom because “she” will preserve them/us. He states that if “wisdom” is loved, than it will keep you.

This sounds like many parents who say the same things over and over and over to children to try to make sure that they will get the things they feel are important into their child’s life. I’ve been there and done that, and apparently this is one thing that even God, as our parent, knows that we need to help make us pay attention to the things that are important.

He again goes into the need to not only hear and put wisdom into our minds, but to also digest it until we understand the concepts. He says that if we “Exalt her (wisdom),” then “she will promote you.” “Exalt” means to: 1. raise in rank, character, or status; elevate:
The definition of “promote” is: 1. a. To raise to a more important or responsible job or rank. b. To advance (a student) to the next higher grade. 2. To contribute to the progress or growth of; further. 3. To urge the adoption of; advocate for:

I would tend to take the second definition of "promote" in this instance and say that when we put Godly wisdom first in our lives, it will contribute to progress or growth in our lives. The same verse goes on to say that when we embrace her, we will gain honor.

Our last verse for today, talks of wisdom placing “an ornament of grace” on the head, much like the verse in chapter 3, verse 22. where it talks about discernment being “an ornament of grace” to your neck. This verse goes on to say that it will deliver a crown of glory to you.

These types of adornment draws the eyes to the wearer, and often draw people to the person wearing them. If we are being “adorned” by Godly living, then we will draw people to us as they feel the difference that God makes in us. We should have the “living water” of Christ’s love to pour out into the lives of those who are seeking Him when He does draw them toward us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Proverbs 4:1-4

Today we start our study on Chapter 4 of Proverbs. We will cover the first four verses of this new chapter. Here they are:

Proverbs 4 (NKJV)

Security in Wisdom
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding;
2 For I give you good doctrine:
Do not forsake my law.
3 When I was my father’s son,
Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 He also taught me, and said to me: “
Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.

Verse 1 of this chapter starts out with Solomon speaking to his sons, and trying to pass on some of his wisdom. Remember that God had promised this man that he would be the wisest man to ever live, so it would have been a good idea for his sons to have listened to him. Unfortunately, if you read his life story, you will find out that mostly, they didn’t listen to him. It is also interesting to note that King Solomon didn’t always do what he preached either, and he ended up having a lot of problems in his own life because of this.

He tells his sons to give their attention to his instruction if they want to come to a point of understanding. When we hear/read something from God’s word, we need to pay attention and “digest” it. We need to “take it into ourselves” and make it a part of our life.

James 1:23-25 says:
23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Solomon goes on in the second verse to say that he is passing on “good doctrine” and that they shouldn’t forsake, or turn away from, the law. “
Doctrine” is defined as: 1. A principle or body of principles presented for acceptance or belief, as by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group; 2. A rule or principle of law, especially when established by precedent. 3. Archaic: Something taught; a teaching.

By writing down these proverbs, Solomon was trying to pass on teachings that were based on a body of principles handed down from God. These were based on precedents that he had learned through the gift of wisdom that he had received from God.

Verses 3 and 4 tell us that Solomon had listened to his father, King David, and learned from him and from his mother, Bathsheba, as well. He had “honored his father and his mother…” which is a commandment that comes with a promise. Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”

Solomon goes on to say that David had told him that if HE put the words that he was taught into his heart and life, then they would bring life. Solomon was blessed to have been very close to his father, a very Godly man, and he gained a lot of his wisdom from that relationship. There are many stories of people in the Bible that had Godly parents. They followed in their parents footsteps, staying close to God, and He was able to use them in marvelous ways.

We must always remember that we are models to children and to other people that are watching us, and that we can either pass on good principles, or evil ones. We can’t say “Do as I say, and not as I do,” for it doesn’t work!

If you had Godly parents or a Godly parent, Praise God for your blessings, and if you didn’t have an “EARTHLY” Godly parent/s, then Praise God that HE promises to be your father and to love you and teach you in HIS way that ultimately brings peace, love and joy into your life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Proverbs 3: 33 & 35

Today, we will finish Chapter 3 of Proverbs with these 3 verses:

Proverbs 3: 33 & 35

33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

All three of these verses use “antithetical parallelism.” That is the form of Hebrew poetry in which the second line is the opposite, or in contrast with, the first. The contrasts intensify the lesson to be learned and helps to drive it home..

Verse 33 tells us that “the curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked…” When there is wickedness in a house, it tends to be JUST a house, and not a home. It is a place where people go to eat and sleep, but there is usually NOT love or peace there, and THAT is what makes a home a real “home.” When those that dwell together in a house are truly just and living Godly lives that are filled with the Fruit of the Spirit, then God will bless that place and make it a true “HOME.”

Verse 34 warns that people that treat others with scorn and derision will receive scorn from God. The online dictionary defines the word “scorn” as 1. a.contempt or disdain felt toward a person or object considered despicable or unworthy. b. The expression of such an attitude in behavior or speech; derision. 2. One spoken of or treated with contempt.. 3. To consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy. 4. To reject or refuse with derision; to express contempt; scoff.

Though God is love and wants to love people, those that reject Him and His love, and treat others in evil ways, will have the protection of the Lord removed from their lives. His purpose for this is to bring people back to following Him and His ways, because, since HE is the CREATOR, He knows what will give us peace in our lives. The whole point of the tribulations, spoken of in Revelation, are to show God’s majesty and power with the hope that they will repent and turn to Him, but there are still people that refuse to repent and turn from their evil ways. (See Revelations 16:9 and 11 where this is spelled out in so many words.)

The second part of verse 34 uses the contrast between the way Lord treats the scornful in the first part, and the way he treats those that are humble in the second. It says that He gives grace, or “unmerited favor” to those that are humble. The word “humble” is defined as 1. Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; NOT arrogant or prideful. 2. Showing deferential or submissive respect:
If we are humble to others, and especially toward the Lord, then He will pour His favor out in our lives even though we don’t deserve it.

The last verse of this chapter sums up the difference between the “ends” of those that are wise compared with those that are foolish. It says that those that are “wise,” or are following Godly wisdom in their lives, will inherit glory, and I believe this is speaking of the glory of becoming a citizen of heaven.

On the other hand, those that are foolish, will leave behind a "legacy" or feeling of shame, in those that have followed them… their families or friends. The definition of legacy is: something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor. Those that refuse to follow God and accept His free gift of eternal life, are CHOOSING eternal death… the second death spoken of in Revelation 20:14 & 15. This IS true foolishness!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Proverbs 3: 29 & 32

In these verses we have three “DO NOT’s.” They cover actions toward your neighbor, toward strangers, and toward your enemies. Remember that these verses follow directly after the verses that spoke of the “Golden Rule” principle. They enlarge on what those verses were discussing. First let’s look at today’s scriptures.

Proverbs 3: 29 & 32
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.

In verse 29, we are admonished to “NOT devise evil against your neighbor…” (devise - 1. To form, plan, or arrange in the mind; design or contrive: 2. Archaic To suppose; imagine.)

This scripture tells us that “he dwells by you for safety’s sake.” During Bible times, your neighbors were often family members, or you had chosen the place that you wanted to live. In today’s world you are often sort of “plopped down” where it happens to be convenient for your work, or some other reason (like it’s the only thing you can afford, etc.)

Still, if you are trying to put God first in all that you do, and He is leading you, then you are exactly where God wants you to be, and your job is to shine the light of Christ’s love out onto your neighbors, and not “imagine” or “plan” to do anything evil against them… no matter what they are like or have done! Christ teaches, in Matthew 5:21-26, that we are to love and not hate… that hate, or planning evil… makes us as bad as a murderer in His sight.

The next verse exhorts us not to “strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.” The definition of Strive is: 1. To exert much effort or energy; endeavor. 2. To struggle or fight forcefully; contend.
In other scriptures, God tells us that we should be “peacemakers” and not argue over small things. We shouldn’t be struggling or fighting forcefully with people that haven’t even harmed us. This is not the way that we should be using the “effort or energy” that we are given. There WERE times when Christ got angry… when people twisted the things of God, and made them evil or a mockery of what they were supposed to be, and this is not what this verse is talking about.

The last two verses speak of oppressors and “perverse persons.” We are not to “envy” them OR chose any of their ways. Oppress means: 1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority 2. To weigh heavily on: or 3. Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.
and 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. a. Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict. b. Arising from such a disposition. 4. Cranky; peevish.

“Oppressors,” from this definition, indicate a person that has authority over someone else. IF we are living in God’s kingdom, and we are given authority over others (our children, employees, coworkers, etc.), than we must use that authority to help them to grow in their own lives and in their lives with God and Christ. Sometimes, we do this with discipline, while other times we should use love, forgiveness and modeling a Christ-like life. We should NEVER be “oppressors,” and try to manipulate others by force or threats.

“Perverse persons,” by these definitions, are people who are the opposite of Godly people. They pervert goodness and righteousness; their lives are ruled by selfishness. They persist in their sins and are stubborn about turning from them. We have all known people with “a disposition to oppose and contradict,” in every way possible. These are not happy people, and even if they have a position of authority, and usually wealth, we should never “envy” them as God looks on them as “abominations.”

Verse 32 ends by telling us that GOD’S secret counsel is NOT with these type of people, but with those that are following Him and living an “upright” life. HIS counsel is what will truly bring perfect peace, joy and love into our lives in His timing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Proverbs 3: 27 & 28

Proverbs 3:27 & 28 speaks of the principle that is usually called the Golden Rule; to treat others the way that you would want them to treat you.

Proverbs 3: 27 & 28

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “ Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.

Verse 27 tells us that if we have the “power” or ability to do good to others… especially those who deserve to be treated well, then we should to that good. The Fruits of the Spirit like love, goodness, kindness, and gentleness should be shown to others: widows, orphans, and the poor or needy.

Verse 28 goes on to give an example of what Solomon was talking about. He says not to put someone off “until tomorrow” if you can do something today. I really need to take this to heart, because I sometimes do this very thing. I will see a need and tell myself that I really need to do something about that… maybe tomorrow, or “later,” but then I never seem to get around to doing it.

I have been trying to get into the habit, especially with prayer requests, to stop and pray right then, when I learn of the need and not just SAY, “I’ll pray for you…” or “I’ll keep that in prayer…” because so often I will get busy doing something else and forget.

God, in several places in His Word, spells out the principle of “living in the moment,” and not being a procrastinator. We are to give Him all of our cares, and not worry about “tomorrow…” We need to live one day at a time and take care of the needs of others that way, too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Proverbs 3: 25 & 26

We will look at the next 2 verses today from Proverbs 3. They speak of the Lord’s protection and of not having to live in fear. Here they are:

Proverbs 3: 25 & 26

25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; 26 For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.

Verses 25 and 26 tell us that we don’t have to be afraid of “sudden terror.” This is would be things that happen unexpectedly. Many people today are living under a cloud of fear. They are afraid of a drive by, or of their child being harmed in some way. They fear for their future with the uncertain economy. They can’t sleep for fear, and their bodies are experiencing the toll that fear costs… lowered immunity, stress related problems that make them turn to drugs or alcohol, weight gain, anxiety attacks, etc.

Jesus tells us that in the last days, this is the way that so many people will live:

Luke 21:25-27 (NKJV)

The Coming of the Son of Man
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

We see so much of this happening today. The news is full of stories about the raise of heart attacks and stress related disorders.

Today’s verses, though, tell us that we don’t have to live in that kind of fear, or of fear of evil men causing us trouble. They may try to cause us trouble, but these verses tell us that “the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” Remember, we have been talking about Godly wisdom, which is BASED on “seeking first the Kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS…”

If our lives are based on these principles, then we won’t “fear” for we will have confidence that God has it all in His LOVING hands, and will not give us more than we can bear, but will bring us through, or protect us from (depending on what He knows we need to build our faith) all the problems the evil one throws at us.

I leave you with this verse from
1 John 4:18:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.