Scripture reading for July 9th: Proverbs 18-21
“He who is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17) King Solomon was a very rich man as well as a wise one. The proverbs have lots to say about the poor and needy and God’s concern for them. God used a rich man, Solomon, to express to us His concern for those who had little. He used His own Son, owner of all creation, to come to earth and preach to the poor and needy! (Luke 4:18-19) He wants us today to be kind to the poor and to give them what they need to make them rich! This proverb of Solomon tells us that if we will be kind and give to the poor, we are really lending to the Lord that which really belongs to Him anyhow. God will reward us when we do that. God’s rewards are out of this world!
“Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him.” (Proverbs 19:4) “A poor man is shunned by all his relatives–how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.” (Proverbs 19:7)
Friends are hard to come by. Wealth draws people who want to be your friend. Often their motives are just for your money. The poor do not attract people and often have few friends. Even relatives of the poor avoid them because they do not want to meet the needs that will be evident when they get close enough to talk! The poor are often lonely and find help hard to come by. This causes despair and sometimes death.
God cares about the poor. Some people become poor through no fault of their own. They may be born into poverty or because of sickness or accident, their ability to work is restricted. Some may have jobs that produce little income or lack ability to hold or keep a job. God wants His people to reach out to them and be their friends. The lazy are also poor, and God rebukes them! “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.” (Proverbs 19:15) God wants us to do what we can to help ourselves. He promises to take care of those who trust in Him and He uses those who will be generous with their money and hearts.
Scripture reading for July 8th: Proverbs 14-17
Divine guidance is something we all seek. I often think how nice it would be to have God audibly tell me what to do each day and how to fulfill His purpose for me. God has given us His word as divine guidance to shed light on His will and path. (Psalm 119:105) We also have the Holy Spirit living in us to lead and guide us into all the truth. (John 16:13-15) Jesus promised that His sheep would hear His voice and follow Him. (John 10:3-6) Divine guidance is available to God’s children from a variety of sources. God can speak in an audible voice, but often His guidance comes through His word and by the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirits in the inner man through words, visions, dreams, and desires of our hearts.
“To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:1-3)
Planning is a part of wise living. We must use our talents, intellect, and ability to live our life for the glory of God. However, God must and does have the final say about our plans. He gives directions and often our mouths and tongues are used in guiding us. Words are important and come from our hearts. Motives behind our plans and words are sometimes hidden from our understanding, but God is able to see to the heart of all our motives.
As we plan, we are to remember God in all our ways. (Proverbs 3:5-7) He promises direction and success as we honor Him by seeking His input. The Amplified Bible states that God causes our thoughts to line up to His will when we commit our plans to Him. The Apostle Paul states it another way; “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” “The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:9, 33) God is involved in our lives more than we like to think! God orders the steps of His own and even “luck” is directed by Him!
Scripture reading for July 7th: Proverbs 10-13
My father was a man of integrity. He believed that his word should be counted on, even if it hurt. One time he sold a large number of fat cattle to a buyer for delivery in several months. They had verbally agreed upon a price and when the appointed time came, the cattle prices were much higher. My dad delivered the cattle and took the agreed upon price! When we walk in integrity, our words can be trusted.
“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9) Solomon gave instruction to his sons about the value of integrity. Integrity is about living life with sound principles and boundaries. It is about being whole and complete in body, soul, and spirit because a life is committed to God and His word. When we operate in godly integrity, we will walk securely without fear. God watches over those who closely follow His ways and blesses them. God also reveals those with crooked paths. Those who cut corners and bend the rules to suit themselves will be exposed!
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.” (Proverbs 11:3-5)
Integrity comes from choosing to live according to God’s rules and decrees. Those who give lip service to loving God, but act contrary to His word are known as practicing duplicity. Duplicity is saying one thing and doing another. It is living a double life, each one for show or to impress others. This kind of living will lead to destruction. It is often tied to money. Rich people often think that their money is a sign of God’s blessing and that He will overlook their duplicity. A day of wrath will surely come and wealth will be of no value to deliver a person’s soul.
Our source of righteousness comes from faith in Jesus Christ alone. We cannot be good enough to earn God’s favor on the day of His wrath. (Ephesians 2:8-10) We must be found trusting in Christ as our righteousness. Because of the new birth, we can now live in integrity that is given by walking in faith!
Scripture reading for July 6th: Proverbs 5-9
Men have a propensity to be easily seduced by women. Beautiful women have been the downfall of many a man, even men of God. Solomon knew this well! He, himself, was the product of his father’s enticement and adulterous affair with his mother, Bathsheba. The child conceived during the actual adultery died, but King David married Bathsheba and they were blessed with a son,Solomon, who became heir to his father’s throne. Thankfully, God doesn’t hold grudges! (2nd Samuel 12:19-25)
Solomon, himself, married seven hundred wives and had another 300 concubines from many foreign nations. He violated the advice God had given him and these wives led him astray spiritually. (1st Kings 11:1-6) He got into idolatry and did evil in God’s sight because of being seduced by foreign women. Solomon had great wisdom from God, but failed to heed it and was led astray.
“My son, pay attention to wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead strait to the grave.” (Proverbs 5:3-5)
Solomon plainly warns us of the dangers of adultery and sexual sin. Adultery is always a form of idolatry. We are worshiping our own desires and lusts by satisfying them illicitly. We are taking what belongs to someone else and using it for our own pleasure. Our stream meant for life (semen) becomes like sewage in the streets! This a vivid description of adultery! This fountain should be blessed by sharing with your wife alone! This action of adultery leads to bitterness, pain, and death! There may be promises of honey and oil, but they are lies!
We often think that no one will find out about our lustful trysts. Solomon warns us that this will be exposed in the whole assembly. Sins will surely find us out because a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord! (Proverbs 5:21-23) The evil deeds of a wicked man hold him like a trap and death will come eventually because of his folly. We need to heed the loving words of advice from our Lord and escape the trap of the adulterous woman!
Scripture reading for July 5th: Proverbs 1-4
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” (Proverbs 1:7-9)
Godly fathers and mothers are a key to raising godly children. Children are born the first time in rebellion to God and centered on themselves.The life of a father or mother that radiates respect for God and models godly knowledge and wisdom is one of the best teachers for children. Children quickly pick up the attitudes of their parents. Wise parents are constantly teaching their children the fear of the Lord and because they love their children, they discipline them to drive the foolishness out of their souls. Children who receive the godly wisdom and discipline of godly parents have beautiful adornments of grace and beauty that are attractive and helpful to the world they live in.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, other than Jesus Christ. God had given him great wisdom because he had asked God for it when God had appeared to him and gave him an invitation to ask of Him whatever he desired. (1st Kings 3:4-9) Solomon wrote down these proverbs in order to pass on to his sons the skill of living wisely in the practical things of this world. God had them recorded for His children of all ages who would listen and learn from Him!
By listening with a humble and teachable heart, God’s children can learn what is just and right and fair. (Proverbs 1:2-5) The proverbs give prudence and discretion, the ability to know what to do in difficult situations and to make wise choices. Foolish people refuse to listen and learn and inevitably suffer loss, pain, and sometimes destruction.
This wise father warns his sons about the enticements of “sinners” who willfully break God’s laws because they do not listen and fear Him. (Proverbs 1:10-19) These men and women are to be avoided because they set a trap for themselves by their foolishness. All who follow them will suffer great loss. Good instruction not only teaches what is right but warns of the consequences of following the wrong path. God is a great parent and He calls all His children to listen and learn!
Scripture reading for July 13th: Proverbs 30-31
As Proverbs comes to it’s conclusion, it ends with emphasis on the godly wife and mother. Wisdom was a virtuous woman in several locations in Proverbs. (Proverbs 8 and 9:1-12) The opposite of this virtuous woman was another woman, “Folly”. (Proverbs 9:13-18) Folly was a prostitute and lacked sense. She wouldn’t stay at home and was often on the prowl. Her door led to death and the grave and many were the number she had slain! (Proverbs 7:26-27)
Proverbs 31:10-31 describes the wife of noble character. This description of the noble wife has stood as a pattern for women throughout the ages of godliness and righteous living. This godly wife is a worker and is trustworthy. (Proverbs 31:11-17) She is up and busy providing for the needs of her household. She cares for the poor and needy with her excess. She is thoughtful for the future and plans ahead. She clothes her children with scarlet and her husband is honored in the city gate. She speaks with wisdom and is clothed with dignity and strength. Her children and husband bless her and honor her! She fears the Lord and will be given her reward at the city gate!
This woman is also like the Bride of Christ! The “Bride” is a worker and is faithful and trusted by Jesus Christ. The Bride is busy and cares for the needs of the household of faith. She provides garments of scarlet–coverings of the Blood over all her true children! She reaches out to the poor and needy with gracious giving. She is mindful of the future return of the Bridegroom and makes preparations and is assured that She will be ready! She speaks with wisdom and is clothed by her Husband with dignity and strength! Her children and Husband honor her! She will receive her reward at the city gate and Her works will praise Her–The New Jerusalem!
What a great day we live in! To be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ, His holy Bride is the greatest privilege and blessing! Let’s stay busy and working for the day of His appearing is coming quickly! This is true and godly wisdom!
Greetings on this day of rest! One of the things that we as Christians can rest from is getting even! The competitive spirit that is in our flesh is always looking for ways to get even or make someone who hurts us suffer. The old saying “I don’t get mad, I get even” has caused lots of trouble over the years.
As I read through the Proverbs this week, I noticed several scriptures dealing with this ancient problem of getting even. Proverbs 24:29 warns us not to say “I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.” All vengeance belongs to God alone. Only He knows the heart of a person well enough to properly reward or punish that person for their wrong actions. God desires to forgive and heal the wrongs rather than judge anyone.
Proverbs 26:21-22 is another difficult scripture for us to understand and apply sometimes. It tells us to act in kindness toward our enemies and try to meet their needs. If they are hungry we are to feed them and if they are thirsty we are to give them something to drink. Our acts of kindness is likened to heaping burning coals on our enemy’s head. This purposeful acting in love will bring the notice of God and He will reward us. It will also possibly produce a repentance and healing with our enemy whereas if we got even, we would only prolong the battle and bad attitudes would continue.
Jesus Christ perfectly exhibited this healthy attitude toward those who hated him. He purposely forgave them and asked God to forgive them. He taught His disciples to love their enemies and do good to those who would despitefully use them. (Matthew 5:43-48) Some of His final words were “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Matthew 23:34) These words exemplify the teaching of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father for those caught in sin and bondage! What love is this toward those who acted so hatefully!
May we be filled with the same love today for those who hate us and would despitefully use us! This kind of love comes from the heart of God by the Holy Spirit! Take time and ask God to fill you again with His love for the lost and for our enemies! God bless you in the coming week! In His Love, Pastor John
Scripture reading for July 11th: Proverbs 25-29
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” Proverbs 25:11-12
Word pictures help us to grasp and remember sayings of the wise. These word pictures come back to us and we can meditate on them and begin to apply them and pray for God to work them into our lives. This is the process of the renewing of the mind. It involves us reading the sayings and then remembering them and saying them again and again. We allow them to come into our heart and bring understanding.
This proverb tells us of words that are spoken at just the right time and in the right tone. They are not many words but sometimes only a “word”. They are beautiful to look at as fine art and have a good ring in our ear. They bring to mind pictures that can reveal more to us than words. They are the “pleasant words that promote instruction”. (Proverbs 16:21)
The earring of gold or ornament of fine gold reminded the reader of what a “listening ear” might look like if it received correction from a wise man. It would be pleasant to look at and decorated beautifully with richness of fine gold. The wise man receives correction so that he can be wiser still. The fool rejects correction and has no earring of fine gold!
“Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.” Proverbs 25:19
This proverb uses a painful bad tooth or a lame foot that can’t support any weight because of the pain and brokenness to tell a story to those who will listen. An unfaithful man is just like that tooth that aches and causes discomfort. He is like the lame foot that is of no help moving forward or carrying a load. Faithfulness is a prized character trait of the wise and choosing faithful helpers, counselors and leaders is a wise move for everyone who has an ear to hear this word aptly spoken!
These chapters of proverbs contain many more of these pithy statements and word pictures that carry a picture and a message. Take some time and jot down several that speak to you. Share them with a spouse, friend or fellow-traveller in this journey through life. Your just may put a “gold earring or ornament of fine gold” in the listening ear!
Scripture reading for July 9th: Proverbs 18-21
When we lived in Washington State near Olympia for six years, we experienced slugs for the first time. After a rain, which was almost daily during the 8 month rainy season, the slugs came out, crawling on the sidewalks. They left slimy trails and if you picked them up, you felt slimy too! They did not move very fast but inched along like a snail. I imagine that the sluggard in the Bible is named after that slow and slimy animal!
The Bible talks more about the sin of laziness than that of drunkenness. Proverbs 19:15 says that laziness and sleeping go together and the result is a shiftless man who goes hungry! We are warned in Proverbs 20:13 about loving sleep. It will result in poverty! This lazy man is called a “sluggard” in Proverbs 19:24. This verse accuses the “sluggard” of being so lazy that he cannot even feed himself! He puts his fork in the dish but is too lazy to bring the food to his mouth! Now that’s lazy! The sluggard is always craving but never satisfied because he refuses to work! In Proverbs 23:13 the sluggard is shouting “there’s a lion outside” or “I will be murdered in the streets.” His excuses to keep from working or leaving his bed are ridiculous!
One of my personal favorites is from Proverbs 24:30-34. In these verses, the field of a sluggard is in focus. Thorns, representing the curse of Adam, are growing everywhere. The ground is covered with weeds and the protective wall is in ruin. The lesson is that laziness and too much sleeping instead of working leads to scarcity and poverty. This is the truth in practical terms!
The mocker is the next term dealt with in today’s reading. A mocker is someone who makes fun of God’s Word and ways, preferring to do things his own way. Mockers deserve flogging because they lead others astray. (Proverbs 19:25, 29) Mockers are often involved in drinking and mock when they are drunk with wine or beer. (Proverbs 20:1) Proverbs 21:24 names the proud and arrogant man “mocker”. Mockers are fools because they lack discernment and fail to value God or His Word! God’s Word says to drive out the mocker to remove strife, quarrels and insults! (Proverbs 22:10)
Meddling in affairs that are not yours is also spoken against in this book of wisdom. Proverbs 20:3 states that it is a man’s honor to avoid strife and quarreling. Proverbs 20:19 warns against gossip and meddling as a source of trouble. Guarding your mouth and tongue will keep you from calamity! (Proverbs 21:23) We are to seldom set our foot in our neighbor’s house because with too much of us, he will end up hating us! (Proverbs 25:17) If you want to really get into trouble, meddle in a quarrel that is not your own! It will be like taking a dog by it’s ears! (Proverbs 26:17)
Sluggards, mockers and meddlers are warned against in the wisdom of God! Evaluate your own life and take appropriate action before it’s too late! Poverty, beatings, and a Doberman Pincer by the ears should be warning enough!