Saturday, August 13, 2022

August 14 – Seems Right and Right – the Difference

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” – Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” – Proverbs 14:26 (ESV)

Two Proverbs with promises. One a promise of death the other a promise of salvation. Discussions with those who do not yet believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior often effect resistance. Many people simply cannot see that the way they are is not the right way. It seems so reasonable and so much makes sense in their minds. At the same time, the message of the Gospel seems unreasonable and even silly. The truth is this, rejection of God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ leads to the way of death.  Jesus made this clear in Matthew 7:13-14. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Our second proverb is a Christian paradox—confidence—issues out of fear. Abraham sacrificed his son in the fear of God: but he was fully confident “that God was able to raise him up from the dead.” By faith, our fear of God gives us victory over the doubts, of the the enemy.


195




August 13 – Watch What You Say

 “From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good, but the desire of the treacherous is violence. The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:2-3 (NASB)

Perhaps you’ve heard the quip, “Loose lips sink ships?”  It’s an American English idiom meaning "beware of unguarded talk." The phrase originated on propaganda posters during World War II. Coined as a slogan by the US Office of War Information's attempting to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies. Another common way of saying we’ve said something we shouldn’t have is to “put our foot in our mouth.” It means one has said something foolish, embarrassing, or tactless. Today’s verse from Proverbs is also a good caution and has both a positive and negative result promised. The parallels here are implied. A man of good words prospers, but a man of evil words (thus unfruitful to God) provokes violence against himself. Being careful about what we say helps keep us out of trouble. But speaking hastily and thoughtlessly brings on trouble to ourselves and to others. By our reckless words we makes promises we can’t keep, or perhaps we offend, or misrepresent. People learn not to depend on what we say and do not want to be around us. Consequences may be that we suffer financially or physically. 


193




Friday, August 12, 2022

August 12 – Listen to Wisdom

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” – Proverbs 12:15 (NASB)

 

The way of the wicked or wickedness is contrasted with the way of righteousness throughout this chapter. Each verse brings us to ponder how our lives measure up. The fool’s arrogance and conceit hinder his ability to tap into God’s wisdom. His way is right in his own eyes. He needs no direction, asks no counsel, is stubborn in his own way, because it is his own understanding that leads him and he follows it to his own ruin. His chief danger is his security. The fool does not see the threat of destruction. He has no teachable spirit and so has little means of increasing his wisdom. Is it that we might not see because there is no flagrant sin?   Thinking that we are okay and at least as good as our neighbor. After all we believe in heaven but we may see the way as having easy access by our own understanding. Instead, we will do better to listen to the counsel God gives us through the Holy Spirit and by means of Godly people who can teach us. It is the wise who listen and heed what God has said.  


193




Thursday, August 11, 2022

August 11 – What Pride Really Is

 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2  (ESV)

Pride. What is it? Why does the Bible frame the act of pride as something that is disgraceful? Aren’t we “proud” of our each other or our children when they do well? Is there a way to be righteously proud? Honestly, probably not. And because the Bible is quite clear about the sin of pride, it is not surprising that it is yet another word which the world has twisted to make it sound commonly good. Nothing wrong with striving to do our best and being satisfied when we are able – but in our response we should give credit not to our own selves but to God who gives us the ability to do well in what he instructs us to do. We’ve come to use the word in place of meaning we’re “thankful to God” and we rob God of the credit He is due.  The word ‘pride” is from a root meaning “to boil,” or “to run over.”  It indicates an overwhelmingly arrogant attitude or behavior. It is used of ordinary men; kings; Israel; false prophets; and murderers.*  Our verse compares “the humble.” Occurring only here and its verbal form is used only in Micah 6:8, “walk humbly”

 

200

* ordinary men (Dt 17:12, 13); kings (Ne 9:10); Israel (Ne 9:16, 29); false prophets (Dt 18:20); and murderers (Ex 21:14).

 


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

August 10 – Seeking Righteous Ways

“Ill-gotten gains do not profit, But righteousness delivers from death. The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger, But He will reject the craving of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:3 (NASB)

It is common to wonder why those who act wickedly seem to prosper from their evil actions. We want fairness in life even though we may not fully understand what fairness might be in any given situation. Also, it is certain that we can be tempted to do what is not right where we might “get away with it.” By giving into temptation any benefit or pleasure is only temporary. Rationalizing “nobody’s really hurt” is a false means of excusing ourselves. Wisdom teaches us differently and we have learned the value of heavenly wisdom in the first chapters.  In continuous discourse, the nature and value of heavenly wisdom has been contrasted with the fascinations of sinful folly. In Chapter 10, the proverbs are given mostly as unconnected sentences of profound thought, and observation⸺ using antithetical or illustrative form. We are taught by comparison of two means to live or two promises. Today’s verse for example, God promises to not allow the righteous to go hungry while the ultimate benefit to the wicked will be fail. The way of the wicked is a loser’s way but the way of the righteous is the way to promises of blessings.

197



 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

August 9 – Choose Careful Correction

“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” – Proverbs 9:8-9 (ESV)

A worthy saying is, “Be carful to pick your battles.” This applies to us in so many ways. Whom do we know that needs some help or instruction in how to cope with the many challenges of life? We all make mistakes due to our ignorance or lack of understanding. Thus we all need help to learn better ways to manage. Certainly there are many that might come to mind. When they do, it is a smart thing to consider who we might reprimand for their own good as well as others.  Will they receive the correction or reproof or will their reply be only to scoff and jeer? There is a danger in trying to reprove a wicked person and we might be better forgoing the effort. Yet, for those who are wise our effort to help might be appreciated and they thank us. Plus when we’re receiving such instruction from a brother or sister we can know that it will improve our life⸺if we take it to heart. Don’t we desire to be wise and righteous even when receiving correction? Such correction will only lead to our better understanding and from it we gain more wisdom.  


198




Monday, August 8, 2022

August 8 – Wisdom and Prudence – Living Together

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” – Proverbs 8:12-13 (ESV)

Wisdom herself is the focus in these verses and not its rewards. It’s the simple ones that need her and need to exercise prudence. If a person has wisdom, they also have prudence. In the same way as Proverbs 1:3-5, we have explained which qualities of life must be acquired if one desires to live a wise life. A disciplined and prudent life is one with high moral standards and with such one does what is right and just. This reminds us that sensible, discreet living is not associated in any way with the vices mentioned in verse 13. Wisdom delivers understanding and knowledge. Wisdom rejects pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse talk which are not the fruit of living in Wisdom. Rather, these are what Wisdom hates and has no cohabitation with evil. For, Wisdom is moral and one who fears the Lord is wise and will hate evil. The holiness of Godly Wisdom is found in the company of good sense for Wisdom cannot dwell with evil. Therefore to fear the Lord, is to hate evil.


178