Friday, August 20, 2010

Proverbs 12: 15 Seek Wise Counsel…

This verse is another contrast between those that God sees as being foolish and the ones He sees as being wise.

Proverbs 12: 15 (NKJV)
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.

Here are the definitions of the main words in these verses: 

the way: the path
fool: One who is deficient in judgment, sense, or understanding; opposite of wise
right: Most favorable, desirable, or convenient

heeds: pays attention to; listens to and considers
counsel: Advice or guidance, especially as solicited from a knowledgeable person
wise: 1. possessing, showing, or prompted by wisdom or discernment 2. prudent; sensible

Using these definitions, we see that people who are deficient in judgment and understanding choose paths that THEY feel is most favorable or convenient for them. They base their path in life on their feelings instead of sound judgment.

In contrast, the person who shows wisdom or discernment and is sensible, will listen to and pay attention to advice or guidance from a knowledgeable person.

As we saw in the first several chapters of Proverbs, God illustrated that the wisdom that comes from Him and studying His Word is the true wisdom available in this world. Since He created this world, He knows what will help us get through our life in it, in ways where He can lead and bless us.

We must be very careful to base the way we act and the things we do in this life, on what God says and not on what we “feel like doing” from one minute to the next. 

Proverbs 3:1-12 (N I V)
Benefits of Wisdom 

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart. 

4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father, the son he delights in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Proverbs 12: 14 What Will You Sow…

Today’s verse continues with the theme of being careful with our speech, and the “work” we do for those things will decide the type of “reward” we will receive.

Proverbs 12: 14 (NKJV)
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. 

satisfied: Filled with satisfaction; content
good: Ample; substantial: a good income. b. Bountiful
fruit: Result; outcome (in this usage of the word)
mouth: Utterance; voice
recompense: to pay or reward for service, work
hands: 1. Physical assistance; help   2. One who performs manual labor
rendered: 1. To give what is due or owed   2. To give in return or retribution

When we look at the definitions of our main words in this verse, we see that God says a person will be filled with satisfaction and be content with an ample, and bountiful income as a result of the wise things he says.

The second line can be interpreted two ways: If you sow bad seeds (laziness, evil, etc.), you will be rewarded with bad things, while if you plant good deeds/words/actions, etc. you will be rewarded with God’s blessings. It boils down to, “you will receive what you earn…” OR, another way of putting it would be, “you will reap what you sow…”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Proverbs 12: 13 Be Ensnared or Make it Through…

Today’s verse is about the trouble we can get into through the things that we say…

Proverbs 12: 13 (NKJV)
13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will come through trouble. 

First, let's check our definitions...

wicked: 1. Evil by nature and in practice 2. Highly offensive; obnoxious
ensnared: to trap or gain power over someone by dishonest or underhand means
transgression: 1. A violation of a law, command, or duty 2. The exceeding of due bounds or limits.
lips: Insolent talk; To utter
righteous: Morally upright; without guilt or sin
through: 1. In one side and out the opposite or another side of 2. At or to the end of; done or finished with, especially successfully
trouble: 1. A state of distress, affliction, difficulty, or need 2. A distressing or difficult circumstance or situation 3. A condition of pain, disease, or malfunction

As we can see, evil, obnoxious people can become trapped by speaking about violating the laws or duties that have been given to them. Morally upright men, on the other hand will make it out of their problems because they will be guided and blessed by God.

Job 15:5 (NKJV) says: Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty, and Jesus said, in Mark 7: 18 (NKJV) “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…”

The book of James also teaches about our speech…
James 3: 5 – 10 (NKJV)
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

And finally, the Amplified Bible brings us a clear picture of what God would have our speech be: 

Ephesians 4:29-32 (Amplified Bible)
29 Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).

31 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Proverbs 12: 12 Wanting and Getting

Proverbs 12: 12 (NKJV)
12 The wicked covet the catch of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields fruit.

Here are today’s Definitions of the main words:

wicked: 1. Evil by nature and in practice 2. Highly offensive; obnoxious
covet: long for, desire, fancy, envy, crave, aspire to, yearn for, thirst for, begrudge, hanker after, lust after, set your heart on, have your eye on, would give your eyeteeth for
catch: 1. To capture or seize, especially after a chase. 2. To take by or as if by trapping or snaring. 3. To take hold of, especially forcibly or suddenly 4. To hold, as by snagging or entangling 5. To deceive
evil: 1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked 2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful 3. Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous 4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous 5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious
root: An essential part or element; the basic core
righteous: Morally upright; without guilt or sin
yields: 1. a. To give forth by or as if by a natural process, especially by cultivation b. To furnish as return for effort or investment; be productive
fruit: Result; outcome (in this usage of the word)

Using these definitions, we see that those that are evil by nature, and in practice, lust after or crave, the things that other morally bad and evil, malicious men have captured, often through trapping or deceiving others. God says, though, that the basic core or spirit of those that are morally upright, will produce or cultivate good results and outcomes. This would come through the natural process of having God furnish the return on the investment put in through living in Godly ways and with God given wisdom.

This is the basic reason that God put in the Ten Commandments, that we shouldn’t covet, for it breeds evil.  If we follow God and HIS ways, we will be blessed.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Proverbs 12: 11 Work and Eat…

This verse is the essence of the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant worked HARD all summer while the grasshopper wiled away the hours, playing and having fun, but when the winter came, the ant had plenty of provisions laid up for his family, while the grasshopper died out in the cold.

Proverbs 12: 11 (NKJV)

11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread,
But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.

tills: To prepare (land) for the raising of crops, as by plowing and harrowing; cultivate

satisfied: Filled with satisfaction; content

bread: 1. a. Food in general, regarded as necessary for sustaining life b. Something that nourishes; sustenance 3. Means of support; livelihood

frivolous: 1. Unworthy of serious attention; trivial 2. Inappropriately silly
frivolity: 1. The quality or condition of being frivolous. 2. A frivolous act or thing.

devoid: Completely lacking; destitute or empty

understanding: 1. Characterized by or having comprehension, good sense, intelligence or discernment. 2. Compassionate; sympathetic

Using the definitions of the main words from today’s verse, we see that the person who works by doing the job that God has given him to bring him his “Daily Bread,” will be sustained and content, while the person who doesn’t pay attention and just goes around being silly instead of working, doesn’t show ANY intelligence or good sense.

I found some of the other translations of this verse to be helpful in understanding it as well:

The New American Standard Bible puts it this way:
11. He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.

The New International Version says: 11. He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

And last, but not least, “The Message” version says: 11. The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Proverbs 12: 10 (NKJV) The Treatment of Your Animals Shows What’s Inside…

Today’s verse talks about the way people treat their animals as being a way to judge their character. I find this interesting because we see more and more animal abuse and neglect as the incidence of other forms of crime, abuse and neglect rise.

Proverbs 12: 10

10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal,
But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

righteous: Morally upright; without guilt or sin Upright: Adhering strictly to moral principles

regards: 1. To give heed; pay attention 2. To take into account; consider. 3. Obsolete: To take care of.
       Synonyms: regard, esteem, admiration, respect
These nouns refer to a feeling based on perception of and approval for the worth of a person or thing

mercies: 1. Compassionate treatment 2. A disposition to be kind and forgiving  3. Alleviation of distress; relief 4. humane and kind, sympathetic, or forgiving treatment of or disposition toward others

wicked: 1. Evil by nature and in practice 2. Highly offensive; obnoxious

cruel: predisposed to inflict violence, pain, or hardship, or to find satisfaction in the suffering of others

By using the definitions of the main words of the Bible Text, we see that people that are morally upright, or adhere strictly to moral principles, will pay attention to the care of their animals. They feel that there is worth in living things, and that they have feelings and need love.

By contrast, those people that are evil by nature and in practice, and that are predisposed to inflict violence, pain, or hardship, or to find satisfaction in the suffering of others, just don’t seem to have the capacity within themselves to give humane and kind, sympathetic or compassionate treatment even to their animals.  Jesus said, "You shall know them by their fruits..."

This is SO SAD! I feel that one of the main ways to change people is to change their hearts, and only love, and in particular, the Love of God and His forgiveness in lives, will do that. When we ask Jesus into our lives to wash us from the sins we’ve repented of, and to become the LORD and Savior in our lives, then HE will change us from within, and when He comes again, Romans 8:21-23 tells us:

Romans 8: 21 – 23 (NKJV)

21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Proverbs 12: 9 (NKJV) Humility vs. Pride

I have had some trouble with this verse and finally decided to look it up in some Bible Study notes. The definitions below give some clues, as well.

Proverbs 12: 9

9 Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant,
Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.

Here are the definitions of the main words. The Bible commentary that I used said that the part about “honoring himself” meant that the person was arrogant, so I added the definition for that word as well.

slighted: 1. To treat as of small importance; make light of. 2. To treat with discourteous reserve or inattention.
honor: 1. High respect, as that shown for special merit; 2. Good name; reputation. 3. Glory or recognition; distinction.
lacks: To be without or in need of
arrogance: The state or quality of being arrogant; overbearing pride.

A person who is “slighted,” is one who is looked down on or made light of. They are treated discourteously by ignoring them purposely. The person that is spoken of in the first part of this verse, is well off enough, though, to have a servant. He may not be treated nicely by those around him, and he may even be ignored, but he doesn’t come to his own defense. He is humble.

The second part of the verse speaks of a person who “honors HIMSELF.” He acts like he is something special, and seeks after glory or recognition, putting himself above others. Another word that describes this attitude (as given in the Bible Commentary I used from my NKJV Bible’s notes) is arrogance, or an overbearing pride.

The person that is being arrogant and prideful in THIS case is one that doesn’t even have enough money to buy bread.

The point of this verse is that even if you are treated badly by those that around you, but you still are “solvent” enough, or have enough money to have a servant, you are much better off than someone who is to prideful and arrogant to do what needs to be done to help to support himself and/or his family.

I would note, at this point, that pride is also one of the “Seven Deadly Sins” spoken of earlier in the book of Proverbs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Proverbs 12: 8 (NKJV) Commended or Despised?

We have choices in the way we live our lives. We can live in ways that will bring commendations our way, or we can live in ways that make others despise us.

Proverbs 12: 8
8 A man will be commended according to his wisdom,
But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.

Here are the definitions of the main words in today’s Bible verse as found in the Online Dictionary:

commended: To express approval of; praise.
according: 1. To grant, especially as being due or appropriate 2. To bestow upon
perverse: 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.
heart: 1. Emotional constitution, basic disposition, or character 2. The most important or essential part
despised: 1. To regard with contempt or scorn 2. To dislike intensely; loathed 3. To regard as unworthy of one's interest or concern

As we have seen in past studies, we gain wisdom as we study God’s ways and live according to His precepts. He also promises to give us wisdom if we ask for it. When we do these things, we become more and more like Him, taking on many of His attributes. The wiser we get, the more we realize that God is the one that helps us to become more and more like Him and we can’t take the credit for it.

Today’s verse tells us that we will receive approval or have praise granted to, or bestowed upon, us in accordance with the amount of wisdom that our lives show, but those whose most important or essential disposition or character is perverted, contradictory, wrongly self-willed, stubborn, cranky or peevish will be regarded by others as contemptible. They will end up being disliked, loathed, or regarded as unworthy of interest or concern by others.

We have the choice to turn to God and study His ways to become wise and receive approval, or to continue to live in self-willed stubborn ways, and end up becoming contemptible.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Proverbs 12:6 Watch your tongue…

Today's verse contrasts the way that wicked men speak with the life giving way that people who follow God talk, and shows what results from each manner of talking.

Proverbs 12: 6 (NKJV)
6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,”
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

wicked: 1. Evil by nature and in practice 2. Highly offensive; obnoxious
Adhering strictly to moral principles; righteous

To set free, as from misery, peril, or evil

Those that are offensive, obnoxious, and evil in everything they think or do show the things that are in their hearts by spewing it out in their words. They plan evil and death with their friends.

In contrast, people that stick to high moral principles speak words of comfort, love, care, and peace… things that will help them to be set free from misery, peril or evil when they find themselves in difficult circumstances.