Ecclesiastes 2:25-26For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.Solomon has some good and some bad comments. To the first question it is "no one". We need God in our lives in everything we do. His second statement has a bit of class structure to it. The good guys are the bosses and everyone else are slaves to keep the good guys happy. I do not think that was God's intent at all. The godly are suppose to share God with those who do not know Him and give them the opportunity to come into God's family. He is the creator of us all. No one is better than anyone else. We have different positions in life and God gives us different responsibilities according to our gifts which He gives to us.It is when we do not see things from God's point of view that things get out of whack and it is then vain. When we keep to God's Word and His ways everything and everyone has a very clear purpose and it is a beautiful picture of God's love and grace.I am very fortunate to live in the days that are now here. I am so grateful for all who have taught me and shared the Word of Life with me. Thank You Lord for Your wonderful ways filled with purpose and joy.
Ecclesiastes 2: 15"Then I said I to myself, "As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?" So I said to myself, "This too is vanity."In the first seventeen verses of this chapter two the word myself appears ten times. Solomon was doing all these things for himself and not the Lord or for others or for his nation Israel. So he accomplished great things but they were all for himself. Self was the focus and not God. The end results is that it has no lasting value and it will soon all crumble.I must be warned by Solomon's example that I too could live my life with God all for myself. I could do some good things and accomplish some notable deeds but there would be no eternal work for God's Kingdom. I do not want to live my life for myself but for God and for others. I want to be like Jesus who gave His life so others might have life and have life that is full of meaning and purpose; the goal of exalting Jesus and not myself and helping others to know Him and the joy of serving Him.
Ecclesiastes 1: 17-18"And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain."All that Solomon is saying is true when I do not have a relationship with the God of all creation. Although Solomon was a very wise man he many times left God out of the equation and it amounts to vanity or worthlessness. This whole little book is explaining that life apart from God can be a miserable existence. No wonder people turn to all sorts of addiction because they refuse to allow God to be the focus of their lives. So having the wisdom of the world and having great knowledge is a worthless pursuit because that will not make me happy. I can have all sorts of academic degrees and be an expert in many things because of my knowledge but I will still be miserable and without joy because I have left God out of my life.I am grateful for the education I have been able to acquire but most of all I am grateful for the knowledge of God and to have real life through His Son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that education is not the answer to a meaningful life but God. Everyone can have this free gift of life by faith in the Lord Jesus. Thank You Lord for Your marvelous plan of the ages.
Prov 31The last proverb and what is the key thought and how does this relate to all the other chapters preceding? We began with instructions on knowledge and wisdom and understanding. We learned the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Through out the book we have instructions in practical matters and how to avoid the traps of evil that is always trying to pull us down. Now this last chapter has nine verses for men and what they must be conscious of if they want to be a leader. The other twenty one verses are about the qualities of an excellent wife and how valuable she is. In verse 30 she is described as a woman who fears the Lord and that is the key to how she lives and what she does.I have been trying to figure out how to summarize or write a conclusion to all I have read. I know a thorough study is needed to really do justice to all the rich thoughts that have been recorded. My conclusion is more from a personal view and what I have gained in having my devotions in the book the past 30+ days.I must do all I can to gain the knowledge of God and seek for His wisdom and understanding. I must be morally pure and be deligent at whatever task God has for me to do. I must be alert to evil and know how to deal with it in a godly way. King Lemuel had wise words from his mom. Do not give your strength to women who are seeking pleasure and a selfish lifestyle. Along with that do not allow strong drink to become a part of your life. It will ruin you as much as immoral women. The thing the King is to do is to be aware of the needs of the unfortunate and to stand up for them and to protect them. I believe this is God's instructions to every leader wheather he is a King of a nation or leader of a city or the leader of his household. Do not use people or allow the unfortunate to be mishandled and associate with only those who are part of your leadership team or group. Be sure you care for everyone and not only the influencial.Then most of the chapter is given to the excellent wife who is a super woman. I do not think God is saying every woman should be such a talented woman but she does have her priorities straight. She is caring for her husband and her children and managing her home well. If wives would follow this pattern we would have far less problems in our society and our world. The wives of godly men are important to the world in which we live. So God makes a special emphasis on the tasks of women and how they will be admired and praised. I am so fortunate to have such a wife and she is a precious gift from God to me. God does not have any instructions to single women but the fear of the Lord is the key for everyone. God does have more instructions in other parts of scripture. Lord help me to pay close attention to all I have read in the book of Proverbs. I know this is a key book that I should know well. Thank You for my Dad who followed Your wisdom and who was an example to me. Lord keep me searching and digging for Your great truths that You have in this book of Proverbs but also the Book of Books the whole Bible.
Prov 31: 1-9"The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him. "Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child who I bore! The son I dedicated to God! Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.Leaders cannot afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, Lest hung over, they do not know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt. Use wine and beer only as sedatives to kill the pain and dull the ache of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death.Speak up for the people who have no voice for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"There seem to be three major issues that men who are leaders must avoid: 1. Give your life and your strength to sensual women who are out for a good time and will wreck your life and career. 2. Being involved with strong drink that causes a man to have poor judgment and make unwise decisions. 3. As a leader I must speak up for people who have no voice and others are taking advantage of them.There are two things to avoid and one to do. These must be serious threats to a leader or God would not have listed them in His Word. I thank my father who taught me these facts before I knew they were in the scriptures. I praise the Lord for how He has continued to protect me from these pitfalls these many years.I pray I would be able to share these truths with my grandchildren so they will be protected and be godly men. I pray my granddaughters would be careful to choose men who have these same standards. Your ways are the best ways Lord and I pray for the strength to teach others how important what you say is for each one of us.
Prov 30: 18-19 "There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand. The way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid."Do you find it interesting the four examples that Solomon chooses to explain a beautiful or mysterious example? I understand the beauty of an eagle in the sky so free and so powerful. There is no other bird to match their beauty and power. They definitely control the airways of birds. The serpent on a rock is a bit of a puzzle to me. I do not like snakes anyway and I am afraid I do not see much beauty in them. Yet these are both creatures that God has made and there is beauty in them.The third beautiful picture is the way of a ship in the middle of the sea. How many pictures have you seen of a sailing ship in the middle of the sea? There are many! There is something adventuresome about sailing the vast seas of God's creation.The fourth is the picture of a man with a young lady. God created man and woman to be together in love and respect. In courtship they both treat each other so very special. This is the way God wants husbands and wives to treat each other all their lives. Yet we find it impossible to do without God's help and grace. All God has created needs His touch or His ways to make it work the way He created it to work. That which is so beautiful can turn really ugly when it is not done God's way.Four beautiful items of God's creation: 1. The eagle is the sky. 2. A serpent on a rock. 3. A ship sailing on the sea. 4. The love relationship between a man and a young lady. Do all these cause me to stand in awe of how great God is? Do I worship God when these come to mind? I should!
Prov 30: 7-9"Two things I asked of You, do not refuse me before I die: keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, lest I be full and deny You and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be in want and steal and profane the name of my God."There are two things being asked of God. 1. Protect me from being deceived by others and believing the lies that the world is proclaiming as truth. 2. Do not give me poverty or riches because both extremes has great danger for me in my walk with God.When I am affluent and can do more and have more and I can begin to think that I do not need God. Or I could be so busy managing my wealth that I do not have time to spend with God and to obey what He wants me to do. In my years on the mission field I have learned to do with out a lot of things I thought I needed to live life. It is much better to serve the Lord and do His will than to have all that affluence gives.The other extreme of wealth is poverty. If I am poor I do not have the necessities of life and covet what others have and will be tempted to steal and that would dishonor my God. Also in poverty I am a burden to those around me and will have difficulty in proclaiming Christ; my life would be unattractive to those in the world because of my poverty.The lies and deception around me from the world is that I should have wealth so I can be a better witness for Christ. That is a lie from satan and is very clearly not a biblical truth. The life of Jesus does not support such a lie. There are very few Christians that God can trust with wealth. Thank You Lord for those who have taught me the Word of God to protect me from the deception and lies of the world. I am grateful for neither wealth or poverty and know this has been the very best for me and my family and the ministry You have graciously given me. Help me Lord to keep my focus on You and not what I possess.
Prov 29:18"Where there is no vision the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law."In my own words I would say "When people do not have any goals or clear purposes to live by they are very undisciplined and do just what they feel like doing. It would be better if they at least would keep the laws of God and they would find value in doing so. Not only value but happiness and success in living life."Few people truly live life with a purpose and seek to do something meaningful with their life. There are many who live life for the wrong purposes and have nothing at the end to show for their life. God wants me to follow His ways and to get to know Him because that is the main goal in life. Without knowing God I will miss out on what life is really all about.There is a plus to life and that is determining what God wants me to do to co-labor with Him in building His eternal Kingdom. This is more than just going to church but actually having a personal relationship with God and obeying His desires as His servants. It is not difficult to find this purpose. God is looking for me and wants to bless me with this privilege of being involved with Him in the greatest work of all mankind. I need only to be available to Him and to do what He asks me to do. Mary Lou and I have been doing this for 45+ years and God has taken us to many parts of His world to serve Him there. Lord, I thank you for the privilege and the blessing that you have given me and my family in being Your servants. Lord, I pray many others would seek to serve You and find all the joy that You give out of Your abundant Love, Grace and Mercy.
Prov 29:15-17" The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. When the wicked increase transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul."What a wonderful promise concerning rearing children to be a joy to parents. I did not follow this perfectly with my children but God has been gracious to give me some wonderful children. I did spank them when they were little and sought to love them even in doing so. I tried to follow this principle as best as I could.It is important to notice that Solomon added the thought that wickedness will always lose out to the righteous. If I want my children to be on the winning side of life I must be diligent to teach them righteousness.So the reminder again that it is wise to correct my children and they will give mecomfort and even be the joy of my soul. Oh, how wonderful and great is our God who instructs me in the right things to do that which will bring me joy and success.God teaches me the way He wants me to teach my children. He will discipline me and bring difficulties into my life so I might learn that His way is the best for me and those I love. When I obey I find great peace and joy and when I disobey I find life very difficult. Thank You Lord for Your great love and grace.
Prov 29:1"A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy."I think what Solomon is saying in today's language is; "A person who is stubborn and refuses to listen to corrections and instructions will all at once find themselves in deep trouble and no way to get out."I do not think I am such a person but I know I have been stubborn a few times and have paid the price for not listening to wise advice. I have known some very wonderful people who just will not take advice but must always do things the hard way,their way, and I wish I could help them but they will not let me. Often they go through much heart ache and pain and my heart goes out to them but I am helpless to help them. I cannot help anyone useless they want my help.I definitely do not want to refuse to listen to God's advice and demand my own way and get in trouble with God. I know God often uses those close to me to guide me in His way so I want to be careful to listen to those who love me and care about me to consider carefully what they say.Lord, Your purposes and plans are solid and will not be changed. You will accomplish Your work in others regardless of what they do but it may be very painful and disappointing in the process. I am grateful that You are the blessed controller of all things.
Prov 31:29-31"Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let oher works praise her in the gates.Today is my Sweetheart's birthday and the above verses describes her. In verse 28 it says, "Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also and he praises her, saying: " Then follows is verses 29-31. So I am jumping ahead in Prov to catch these verses for Mary Lou's birthday. I know there are many noble women in the world but Mary Lou is very special to me out of all the women of the world. Only one woman has loved me and been at my side as we have sought to serve the Lord in many places of the world.Her fear of the Lord and devotion to the Lord has given her a charm and beauty that is only given by the Lord. She is praised by her four children, her fourteen grandchildren and I can never praise her enough. Others we have ministered to have also praised her for her example as a godly woman and her ministry to them.Thank You Lord for a special lady these nearly 47 years. Give me wisdom in making this day very special for her. I pray You would bless her in a special way far beyond what I or others could possibly do. I pray our dinner with Helen would be a very special time and filled with good surprises.
Prov 28:25-26"An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered."An arrogant man or one filled with pride destroys harmony among others. He thinks his way is the best and he does not want to consider what ideas others may have. If I trust in the Lord I will seek to know what others may think because God may give them ideas that I have not considered. I want to be one that trust the Lord and creates harmony among others. I want to see God honored in the lives of His people and have His blessings on my life.A person who trust in his own heart is close to being like the prideful man. Rather than trusting my own heart I must seek to be wise and seek the wisdom of others. If I walk wisely, God will deliever me from the snares and pit falls that the enemy of my soul has for me. It is so difficult to keep from trusting what I think is right and being doubtful of what others would suggest. I must seek God's wisdom and the wisdom of those who genuinely walk with God.Thank You Lord for Your word that carries the wisdom of the ages. You have given men wisdom in the past and You are still doing that today. I want to be among those men who seek Your wisdom and can discern what is wise and what is unwise. Give me Your wisdom Lord as I wait before You.
Psalm 17: 15"As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake."The world is looking for power and wealth and all the world has to offer but it is not lasting neither does it satisfy the longings of the soul. The Psalmist knows what is really precious to the soul. It is beholding the face of Jesus and being like Him when we finish our life on earth and awake to a new life in eternity.What am I looking for in this life? What do I want to see when I wake up in eternity? I want my goal to be the same as the Psalmist. Lord thank You for all Your abundant grace and mercy that You have afforded to me because of Your death on the Cross many years ago. You have provided the most precious gift of all times and it is still available today. Lord I give You praise and humbly worship You.
Ps 16:8-9"I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely."A one day break from Proverbs. My wife and I read this Psalm together today.This is a choice that we all must make. Is the Lord before or behind me. Do I wait for the Lord or do I run ahead of Him. When I follow the Lord I will find that He is right beside me when I need Him. When He is there nothing will shake me up. The eternal God is at my right hand. When this is true my heart will be glad and my glory will be full of joy and my flesh will experience full security. Does that sound like a good deal or not. I would say there is not a better deal that I could possibly find. All for the decision to let the Lord always be first in my life. I follow Him and do not ask Him to follow me.I am so grateful for the promises that God makes and leaves me the choice to do what I want. I would be so foolish to run ahead of the Lord and ask Him to follow me. Lord help me to stay behind You and to follow You. I need Your presence right beside me in life's tough situations. I want Your joy and the security that only You can give. Thank You for loving me!
Prov 28:13"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but her who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."What a wonderful promise from God. If I try to hide what I do wrong God says Iwill not prosper. Probably for several reasons. One my conscience will bother me and I will be miserable and not have good judgment. I may be caught in my wrong and be exposed as a unfaithful man or a liar. That could end or tarnish my position before others. My wrong could be exposed in other ways and that would prevent me from prospering.On the other hand if I acknowledge my wrongs and I turn from them God says I will find compassion and forgiveness. Ps 32:5 says "I will acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'; and You did forgive the guilt of my sin." A clear conscience is a powerful strength to our being. A guilty conscience is a drain to our strength and our ability to perform as we are capable.I want to be a man who is quick to acknowledge wrong or anything that others may conceive to be wrong. I will not deny truth and what is right. I will follow God's standards on what is right and what is wrong. The Word of God, the Bible, is my guide in determining what is right and what is wrong. Help me Lord to be faithful to You and Your Word.
Prov 28:1 "the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion."What gives believers such boldness and courage?They know God is greater than the devil and that He is in control of everything. When I do what is right and put my trust in God then He will be my shield from wicked schemes. The wicked do not have such an assurance. The devil does not care about them or anyone; he is only interested in destruction and his own selfish purposes. The devil uses people but so long as they follow his ways. He lies because he is the father of all lies. John 8:44Lord give me boldness and courage to follow You and to accomplish Your work on earth. Help me to love the unlovely and care for everyone and share with them the great news of Your salvation. I want to obey You because of Your great love for me and for everyone.
Prov 27: 17-19 "Iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another. He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit; and he who cares for his master will be honored. As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a man reflects man."Iron is sharpened when you put pressure on two pieces of iron and rub them together. The iron gets heated up and I can sharpen a blade with this action. So it is with people when I have a close relationship with them. We can put pressure on one another to do what is right and to obey God and that is what we both really want to do. I must be of like heart with someone in order to have this freedom.If I am responsible to care for a fruit tree then I have the right to eat the fruit it produces. If I work for someone my responsibility is to help them to be successful. When I am faithful in doing this God says I will be honored. Even if my boss does not honor me it is still an honorable work that others will see and I am honored for my character and loyalty. Obeying God's Word is always the wisest thing to do.When I look into a pool of still water I will see my face. So it is when I listen to what is on someone's heart I will know that person for who they are. Listen to what they talk about the most and you will know what is on their heart. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So we need to be good listeners to know what sort of person I am dealing with. I want friends that will challenge me and help me to be the man I want to be. I want to serve those over me and help them to be successful and not concerned only about my work and my success. I want to listen to others carefully so I might get to know them so I can encourage them and know their true character. I know any close relationship will affect my thoughts and actions and I want no one to pull me away from my close relationship with my Lord.
Prov 27:1-2 "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you , and not your own mouth."It is easy to assume that I have years to live and tomorow is just another day. When I do this I fail to make each day count as if it were my last day. I need to be grateful to God for today and do my best in all that is before me. It could be my last day. If I thought this way I would be more careful with relationships and appreciate the small things of life much more. I would be grateful to others more for all they have done for me. I would be more diligent to finish the tasks that I need to do.It is easy to boast of things I do when others fail to see what I am accomplishing. I must not be concerned about what others think except for God. I want to do my work well to please Him and that I might seek to bless others and not seek praise for myself. I need to find pleasure and joy in the work I do and not in praise I might gain from others. Thank you Lord for today and for the days leading up to today. Let me use my time wisely today and find joy in what I am doing. I will committ my work to You and allow You to give me praise that I might need from others. I truly want to praise You and bring praise to You in the way I live and trust You for everything.
Prov 26:24-26 "He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart. Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly."I must be alert to the fact that there are people in the world that hate me. The world contains hate and love and everything in between. God gives us some insight on how to recognize hate when it is present. Someone who hates will disguise his hate by saying nice things but in his heart he has wicked plans. I need to be careful and evaluate gracious words and not believe all I hear. Sometimes there are many wicked plans behind gracious speech. I can be confident that a person's hatred will eventually be revealed for all to see. The important issue is for me not to be deceived by flattery speech and gracious words that are a trick to take advantage of me in some way.I must remember that hatred is very seldom honest but will dress itself to be pleasing and kind to me but planning to do me harm. So I must be alert and seek God's help in discerning what is true about what others may say.I do not like to be always on the alert to what people say to me but I must not be naive either. I want to be gracious to everyone and kind but to be discerning in my relationships. I am grateful that God is my protector and He will reveal to me evil that is around me. Thank You Lord!
Prov 25:26-28"Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one's own glory. Like a ciy that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit."I have chosen three proverbs that speak to important issues in life and one's that I want to be in my life. A righteous man who will not allow wicked men to do what they want; not to seek glory for myself and a man that is in control of his spirit.As a righteous man I must stand up to the wicked and not allow them to have their way in spreading evil when it is in my power to stop them. If I do I am failing the Lord and allowing someone to polute a very good spring and making it useless to drink from. I must stand up to the wicked and not allow evil to have freedom to destroy what is good and right.I like honey but to much of it will make me sick. I like to be appreciated and to receive deserved glory but to seek for it can be to much and it is not good for me. All my glory belongs to the Lord anyway and glory is always short lived. I do not want to allow any glory to give me pride that is destructive. I must be careful with any glory that may be given to me.A city is very insecure that has no protection against evil and a man that can not control his spirit is also very unprotected. Part of the fruit of the Spirit of God is self control which is listed in Gal 5:22 & 23. God wants me to in control of my own spirit and to be calm and poised for whatever I may face in life. When I stand up against the wicked I must be calm and in control of my spirit. I must honor the Lord in doing so. If I am praised for such actions I must be careful not take to much. It really all belongs to God and I will receive enough glory that God is honored and that is enough. I must be in control of my spirit in both cases. Lord thank you for your instructions in how to live life and honor You in all I do.
Prov 25:11-13"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters."Three wise sayings concerning communications. Much of life is all about communications. Is this the right time to share something or should I wait? The one I am talking with are they really listening or do other things have their attention? Do I have a faithful messenger to send a message when I am not able for some reason?The description in the verse is a very pricy setting that is equated to some one saying a word in the precise timely situation. I must treasure those words I might be able to speak to someone at just the right moment. God is the only one who can bring about such a perfect situation. I should spend much time in prayer when I need to tell someone something important that needs delicate handling. It is not just what I say but how I say it that is so very important and when I say it.The next communication warning is to a wise reprover. Someone I need to correct about a serious matter. Again it is a matter of timing and discerning if this is the right situation to correct. The one I need to correct are they in a mode of listening to others or maybe they need affirming more than they need correcting. It is my responsibility to know as best as I can if they will really listen to what I need to say. Again much prayer and sensitivity to the person I must communicate valuable information. Again it is a beautiful picture of communication when it is done right.The third is communicating through someone else when I am unable to do it. It is always better to do it yourself but that is not always possible. So I must look for a faithful messenger that I can trust. That may require some work and some careful evaluating but it is so important. Am I getting the message in all three of these situations?I must be careful to choose the right time to communicate. Any old time is not going to work out well. I must be sensitive to the person I am communicating and determine if they will be able to listen. If not I must choose another time or try to help them to have a listening ear. Then the last is I must be sure I find a faithful messenger if I want my message to get to the intended party. That is a lot of work on me in my communicating. Am I taking my communicating as serious as I should?Thank You Lord for giving me advice in my responsibilities when I am seeking to communicate with others. I must pray more before I speak and be more alert to how others are feeling before I talk with them about important issues.I do know that so many problems develop due to poor communications and I want to avoid those problems for others sake as well as mine. Lord help me to be wise in my communication with others.
Prov 24: 23-26 "These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous," peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him; but to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. He kisses the lips who gives a right or honest answer."The Message says: It is wrong, very wrong to go along with injustice. Whoever whitewashes the wicked gets a black mark in the history books, but whoever exposes the wicked will be thanked and rewarded. An honest answer is like a warm hug.These are wise sayings and it would be good for me to remember them. I assume that anyone can be tempted to be unwise in these matters and it is good to have it in writing so I am careful in what I do.So I must be careful to judge correctly and not be partial to anyone. My goal is to judge what is right and what is wrong. I never want to call the wicked righteous and I want expose wickedness for what it is. I want to be honest in all answers that I give. I am grateful for those that have been an example to me in these issues. My father was such a man. It is not always easy to keep this standard but it is wise and correct.
Prov 24: 3-4"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches."A good cross reference to building a house is found in Ps 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it..." It is not a small matter to build a house or building a home. I think house is not refering only to the structure but to the character of those that are in the house. I am grateful for the wisdom God gave to me in building the house and home He has given me.Then it is established by understanding. I have seen many homes in my lifetime that have been destroyed or that have never been established because of lack of understanding. Understanding requires humulity, listening, admitting when wrong, responsibility, a lot of hard work and genuine love. Oh, the joy of a home that is well established and is a place of safety where I can rest.Knowledge fills the house with many precious memories that will last forever. It is not things that gives me lasting memories but relationships. Relationships I must work on from the day they begin until life is finished. Knowing how to relate and how to be more concerned for others than myself. Obviously since God must build my house or home He also must give me understanding in getting it established. I must seek to know Him and His ways to fill it with the memories that are eternal. So I need His wisdom, understanding and knowledge to have a house or home that will be a joy to me and those that are in it. Most of all it should be honoring Him who has built it in the first place.I am so grateful to the Lord for all He has done for Mary Lou and me these nearly 47 years of having a home built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. He brought it into being and has taught us understanding and continues to give us knowledge so we can relate properly to our four children and fourteen grand-children. Thank You Lord for Your great love for me.
Prov 23:12 "Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to words of knowledge."I would say it like this: "Be wholehearted in your discipline and be eager to hear words of knowledge."I have covered a lot of ground concerning knowledge the last few days and you may feel like I do, a little overwhelmed. I never want my learning of new things to get ahead of my application of what I am learning. So it is good to stop today and think some more about applying the instructions I have received to my life. The word discipline in some cases is translated instructions. When there is discipline it should be for the cause of instructions. So another way of saying the above verse is "Be sure your heart is into learning from your instructions and you are listening carefully to gain more knowledge"The heart to learn from instructions precedes the gaining of new knowledge because new knowledge will not stay with me unless I seek to apply that knowledge to how I live life. So remember Apply,Apply and Apply what I know about God to my life.I need Your help Lord in applying what You have been teaching me to my life. I know these words are true because You are Holy and True. Lord give me a heart that is eager to apply what I learn from You to how I live and how I relate to others.
Prov 22:17-21"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer to him who sent you?"I would like to tie these five verses together a little to see the sequence and the purpose of why God has given us these thoughts in His Word, the Bible. I see seven points God is communicating to me. 1. The process- Listen to what He has to say and learn and apply them to my life. Maybe even memorize them and do more thinking on what He says me.2. The resource- It is His knowledge and truth that I need which gives all men wisdom who will listen and apply. II Tim. 3:16 Eccles 12:113. The goal- That I would trust God and let Him be my all sufficiency. Prov 3:5 and Ps 62:84. Personal- This message is to me to do something with. I must do something. This is not for my friends are anyone else. It is me. Everyone must have this same attitude and take what God says very personally.5. Resources again- We always want to stay ever so close to what God has given to us in His Word. We can get off track so very easily when we are not listening to His knowledge and His ways.6. Sub goal- Handling the Word of God accurately or correctly. II Tim 2:15 God gives us counsel and knowledge in handling His truths.7 The test- II Cor 5:10 We must all give an account to God for the way we have used our lives and what He has given to us. The unbelievers will be judged but the believers will be given a reward depending on what they have done with what God has given to them. Have we done much with what we have been given or have we done very little.
Prov 22:20-21"Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer to him who sent you?"This is how I would try to say the same thing in my own words. "Have you read what I have written to you before about counsels and knowledge to help you to be sure of the words of truth so you you may answer him who sent you with confidence and integrity?"The issue is how am I handling the words of truth? God gives me counsel and knowledge in how to do this with integrity and confidence. He is seeking to help me to be a faithful servant of the living God of all creation. It is a very serious and important work that should be done with excellence. The one who has sent me is really God but I may have leaders over me that I am responsible to. In any case I want to be handling the words of truth with confidence and integrity. Lord, help me to pay close attention to the counsel and knowledge You have made available to me in Your Word. I do want to share the words of truth with clarity and confidence but most of all with integrity. What a privilege to share Your truth with others so they might know and experience joy and confidence in Your greatness.
Prov 22:17-19"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you."Let me try to put this into my own words and then I will make a few comments on these verses. Tomorrow I will do verses 20 and 21 and on Tuesday try to tie all these five verses together as I understand them.Listen very carefully to the words of the wise and engage your mind and thoughts to God's knowledge. ( I say God's knowledge because of the belief that all scripture is inspired by God - II Tim 3:16) Because God's knowledge will be for your personal benefit if they are deep within your life so you can speak of them very easily. This is so your confidence and trust may be in the God of all creation. I am teaching you this truth today. Listen carefully because this is for you.I was amazed this morning as I read these words. I felt like God was saying this to me in such a personal way. I think these are some verses that I must memorize and meditate on for some days. I do want to be a wise man with the wisdom from God. If this is true then I must listen and get my mind to take seriously what God is saying. God knows how I tend to drift away from the confidence that I know I should have in God. I want to be able to share God's truth with others with only a moments notice. They must be on the tip of my tongue and easily shared with clarity. What this will produce in me is the confidence and trust in God that I so long to possess. This is where God gets very personal. I am talking to you today. It is you and no one else. It reminds me of my mom or dad talking to me very seriously when I was a young lad. "Son I am talking to you and I want you to pay attention. I am talking to you so look me in the eye and listen"!God is such a loving God to pay so much attention to someone like me. I am a nobody but God is trying to teach me, even me, the knowledge that He has that will be of such benefit to me. God, the eternal God, wants me to know the value and the peace of trusting in Him completely. He is worthy of such trust and it will make my life so much easier regardless of what I may face. Thank You Lord, for taking the time to talk to me and helping me to know and understand who you are.
Prov 22:1,4,11"A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver and gold. The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life. He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend."There are six things that will bring blessings to me. If I have a good name, have favor, seek to be humble, fear God, love a pure heart and have gracious speech. What do these mean?How do I get a good name? How do I gain favor? The simple answer is to be like Jesus. The more difficult answer is to learn to walk with God and to think of others more than myself. A good name is gained from living a good life not by my definition but by God's. Favor is gained by living a life of helping others so much that they want to do something for me and that is called favors. I do not ask for their help but they are eager to give it because of my giving character. All this is much more valuable than money and wealth.What does humility and fear of God give to me? Riches, honor and life! Is that a worthy reward? I would think anyone would be willing to be humble and to deeply revere God for such a reward. The problem is that I find trouble really trusting God to do what He says. I have no basis in such distrust but I am listening to the lies that are around me saying God can not be trusted. Why not try it and see if God does reward in such a wonderful way. You will find God is True!Every one would like the favor of the King, the boss or whoever is in charge. So what must I do? Demonstrate a love for having a pure heart and speak with a gracious attitude and spirit. Is that attractive to me if I were the King? I would answer with a resounding Yes! A pure heart is not having any hidden motives but is loyal and focused on doing what is right. It is honesty and a concern for others and making life better for those who follow me. I do not speak with a demanding spirit or a critical spirit but kindness and graciousness. I know that in myself I cannot do this but with God's help it can be done. I know my world would be better and those around me might understand more why I serve God the way I do. They also might be interested in knowing more about the God who enables me to live this kind of life. I am grateful for those who have been my example and have shown me that God can be trusted and that He will do what He promises. My part is so small in comparison to all He gives to me when I obey what He asks of me. Thank You my gracious and loving God!!!
Prov 21:20-22"There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up. He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor. A wise man scales the city of the mighty, and brings down the stronghold in which they trust."I think we have here in these three verses how a wise man deals with money, what he pursues in life and how he handles opposition or difficulties. In the first case the wise man uses his money wisely and accumulates treasure and oil. Treasure is a savings plan. Saving up for important purchases or investments. Oil in those days was for healing or health. So a wise man knows how to care for his health.If a wise man will pursue righteousness and loyalty the results will be that he will find life, righteousness and honor. So real life is being righteousness and loyal to those I know and associate with. I have said before that God places a high value on loyalty. Here is more proof. The end results is that the wise man will find honor in doing these simple things.The third thing a wise man will do is not be afraid of the mighty. In his wisdom he will be able to find a way to defeat those that are opposing him and creating problems. Wisdom is better that might. God gives us wisdom. James 1:5So what is my application? I must use my money wisely and save for things that are important. I must pray for wisdom in saving and in how to take care of my health. To be wise I must pursue righteousness and be loyal to those with whom I deal with regularly. This must be my focus and then God will give me life and honor as He chooses. The last is I must not be afraid of difficulties and mighty people that stand in my way of accomplishing what God wants me to do. I will trust in the wisdom that God gives to bring down those strongholds so God's kingdom can be accomplished. I want to be a wise man and not a foolish one in all that I do.