August 18 – OT Reading

Proverbs 25-26

Proverbs 25

Similitudes, Instructions

25 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.

Do not go out hastily to argue your case;
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?
Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
10 Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13 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.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
15 By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.
16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
17 Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
18 Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
19 Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
23 The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
24 It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
25 Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well
Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.
28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.

Proverbs 26

Similitudes, Instructions

26 Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
So a curse without cause does not alight.
A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the back of fools.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.
He cuts off his own feet and drinks violence
Who sends a message by the hand of a fool.
Like the legs which are useless to the lame,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like one who binds a stone in a sling,
So is he who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone,
So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit
Is a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A lion is in the open square!”
14 As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.
17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears
Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
18 Like a madman who throws
Firebrands, arrows and death,
19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, “Was I not joking?”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
23 Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross
Are burning lips and a wicked heart.
24 He who hates disguises it with his lips,
But he lays up deceit in his heart.
25 When he speaks graciously, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 8 – OT Reading

Proverbs 22-24

 

Proverbs 22

On Life and Conduct

22 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The Lord is the maker of them all.
The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
He who sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.
He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out,
Even strife and dishonor will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I have taught you today, even you.
20 Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
21 To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?

22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 For the Lord will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.

24 Do not associate with a man given to anger;
Or go with a hot-tempered man,
25 Or you will learn his ways
And find a snare for yourself.

26 Do not be among those who give pledges,
Among those who become guarantors for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take your bed from under you?

28 Do not move the ancient boundary
Which your fathers have set.

29 Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 23

On Life and Conduct

23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you,
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man of great appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For it is deceptive food.

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.
You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

10 Do not move the ancient boundary
Or go into the fields of the fatherless,
11 For their Redeemer is strong;
He will plead their case against you.
12 Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.

13 Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
14 You shall strike him with the rod
And rescue his soul from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
My own heart also will be glad;
16 And my inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak what is right.

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But live in the fear of the Lord always.
18 Surely there is a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way.
20 Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

22 Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

26 Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes delight in my ways.
27 For a harlot is a deep pit
And an adulterous woman is a narrow well.
28 Surely she lurks as a robber,
And increases the faithless among men.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it goes down smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things
And your mind will utter perverse things.
34 And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea,
Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.
35 “They struck me, but I did not become ill;
They beat me, but I did not know it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.”

Proverbs 24

Precepts and Warnings

24 Do not be envious of evil men,
Nor desire to be with them;
For their minds devise violence,
And their lips talk of trouble.

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 wise man is strong,
And a man of knowledge increases power.
For by wise guidance you will wage war,
And in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Wisdom is too exalted for a fool,
He does not open his mouth in the gate.

One who plans to do evil,
Men will call a schemer.
The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is an abomination to men.

10 If you are slack in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.

11 Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
12 If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
14 Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.

15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not destroy his resting place;
16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.

19 Do not fret because of evildoers
Or be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 My son, fear the Lord and the king;
Do not associate with those who are given to change,
22 For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?

23 These also are sayings of the wise.
To show partiality in judgment is not good.
24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,”
Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him;
25 But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.
26 He kisses the lips
Who gives a right answer.

27 Prepare your work outside
And make it ready for yourself in the field;
Afterwards, then, build your house.

28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
And do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me;
I will render to the man according to his work.”

30 I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
32 When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.
33 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,”
34 Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Why Even the Wise May Fall

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

While reading through Proverbs 19, part of our reading for today, I was struck by verse 27.  This follows along the lines of what I wrote about last week in regard to wisdom.

“Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 19:27 ESV)

One of the saddest tragedies in the Bible is the story of King Solomon. I will explore Solomon’s life over the next three weeks in my blog. What lessons can we learn from him?  This week we will focus on his accomplishments, his legacy. We must ask ourselves what went wrong?

As I wrote last week – we can learn wisdom the hard way or we can learn by the teaching of scripture and lives of others.

As we read though 1 Kings 1-11, we read the story of this great king. Solomon was one of the greatest kings the world has ever seen.

Yet at the end of his life he made one of the most foolish choices that anyone has ever made, with disastrous consequences for himself and his kingdom. How can we learn to avoid making the same mistakes that Solomon made?

Born into royalty, Solomon starts well – we learn that almost everything he ever did was a success. He was a master builder – he built the great Temple, a grand palace, and the great stables for his many horses.

He was wealthy beyond measure.

Above all, Solomon was a man of wisdom, for this was the unique gift that distinguished him from all others, the gift that he received from God.

Solomon was the wisest man in the world—maybe the wisest man in history (apart from the Son of God, of course).

People came from all over the world to hear what Solomon had to say.  When the Queen of Sheba witnessed first hand his wisdom, his wealth, his palace and the temple, scripture says it took her breath away! (1 Kings 10:5)

Countless people have enjoyed his writings – Song of Solomon and Proverbs for thousands of years.

Solomon was also a man of prayer.

Solomon’s dedicatory prayer in 1 Kings 8:22-53 is one of the best prayers in the entire Bible, a model for thanksgiving, confession, intercession, and praise. I will review this prayer in next week’s blog and how it moved me while on vacation!

So, how did a man, such a godly and wise man fall into such disgrace?

He forgot his own teaching – “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”

I am sure folks of the day would have said, “others may fail, others may fall, but surely not Solomon!”

So what can we learn?

The Christian walk is made up of daily choices.  The smallest of sins can grow and grow until we find ourselves in a bad place wondering how we ever got there.

Somewhere along the way we convince ourselves these little choices are not that bad, no one will know – God will forgive me.

I pray we all examine our own lives this week, are there “little” sins, bad choices that you are making that need to stop? Secret stuff no one knows about that you would be embarrassed or worse disgraced if others found out?

May you heed this proverb and never cease to hear instruction, and never stray from the words of knowledge.  Call upon the Holy Spirit that He may keep your heart true!

Until next time…  Keep reading!

Jim

Sources used for this blog – ESV Bible, NASB Bible, Reformed Expository Commentary – I Kings by Philip Graham Ryken (I love this series!)

 

August 7 – OT Reading

Proverbs 19-21

 

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

19 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool. Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs. The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord. Wealth adds many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend. A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape. Many will seek the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts. All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone. He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish. 10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool; Much less for a slave to rule over princes. 11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. 12 The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass. 13 A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. 14 House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord. 15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die. 17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed. 18 Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death. 19 A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again. 20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. 21 Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand. 22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. 23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. 24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth. 25 Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge. 26 He who assaults his father and drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son. 27 Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools.

 

Proverbs 20

On Life and Conduct

20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life. Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel. The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing. A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out. Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man? A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him. A king who sits on the throne of justice Disperses all evil with his eyes. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”? 10 Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the Lord. 11 It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself If his conduct is pure and right. 12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them. 13 Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food. 14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer, But when he goes his way, then he boasts. 15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing. 16 Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for foreigners, hold him in pledge. 17 Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. 18 Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance. 19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. 20 He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness. 21 An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end. 22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. 23 Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, And a false scale is not good. 24 Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way? 25 It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!” And after the vows to make inquiry. 26 A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. 27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. 28 Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness. 29 The glory of young men is their strength, And the honor of old men is their gray hair. 30 Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts.

 

Proverbs 21

On Life and Conduct

21 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice. The way of a guilty man is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright. It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. 11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. 12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin. 13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered. 14 A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath. 15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity. 16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead. 17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. 18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, And the treacherous is in the place of the upright. 19 It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. 20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up. 21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor. 22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty And brings down the stronghold in which they trust. 23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. 24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride. 25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work; 26 All day long he is craving, While the righteous gives and does not hold back. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent! 28 A false witness will perish, But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever. 29 A wicked man displays a bold face, But as for the upright, he makes his way sure. 30 There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the Lord. 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the Lord.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 1 – OT Reading

Proverbs 7-9

Proverbs 7

The Wiles of the Harlot

7 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend; That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words.

For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, And I saw among the naive, And discerned among the youths A young man lacking sense, Passing through the street near her corner; And he takes the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. 10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. 11 She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; 12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. 13 So she seizes him and kisses him And with a brazen face she says to him: 14 “I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. 15 “Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. 16 “I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. 17 “I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 “Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. 19 “For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home.” 21 With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. 22 Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, 23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.

24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths. 26 For many are the victims she has cast down, And numerous are all her slain. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death.

 

Proverbs 8

The Commendation of Wisdom

8 Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, Where the paths meet, she takes her stand; Beside the gates, at the opening to the city, At the entrance of the doors, she cries out: “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men. “O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom. “Listen, for I will speak noble things; And the opening of my lips will reveal right things. “For my mouth will utter truth; And wickedness is an abomination to my lips. “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. “They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. 10 “Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. 11 “For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.

12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. 13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 14 “Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. 15 “By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. 16 “By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly. 17 “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. 18 “Riches and honor are with me, Enduring wealth and righteousness. 19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, And my yield better than choicest silver. 20 “I walk in the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 To endow those who love me with wealth, That I may fill their treasuries.

22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. 23 “From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. 24 “When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. 25 “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; 26 While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. 27 “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, 28 When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, 29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, 31 Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.

32 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. 33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. 34 “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. 35 “For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. 36 “But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”

 

Proverbs 9

Wisdom’s Invitation

9 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table; She has sent out her maidens, she calls From the tops of the heights of the city: “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks understanding she says, “Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed. “Forsake your folly and live, And proceed in the way of understanding.”

He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. 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 his learning. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. 12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.

13 The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naive and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the doorway of her house, On a seat by the high places of the city, 15 Calling to those who pass by, Who are making their paths straight: 16 “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,” And to him who lacks understanding she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Wisdom Will Come Into Your Heart

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

This week we take a look at the Book Of Proverbs.

But before we do, here is a quick re-cap of the first four chapters of 1 Kings. King David is old and his reign has come to an end. Solomon has been anointed as the new King.

In 1 Kings Chapter 2, Solomon consolidates his position by eliminating his enemies – Joab the former commander, Adonijah who attempted a coup, and Shimei the man who cursed his father, King David.

Solomon would also send into exile the former priest Abithar, for his part in the attempted coup by Adonijah.

In 1 Kings Chapter 3, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and Solomon prays to the Lord for an understanding heart – to judge the people and to discern between good and evil.

This prayer pleases the Lord and He tells Solomon in verse 12, that He will give him a wise and discerning heart, the likes of which has not been seen before or after Solomon’s time.

So we read in 1 Kings 4, that Solomon spoke with such practical wisdom and incredible insight that people traveled great distances to hear him and gain from his wisdom.

We have placed Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes here in our reading plan, breaking away from 1 Kings for a bit, as we subscribe to the belief that they were written by King Solomon to a large extent.

Often called “God’s treasure book of wisdom”, the teachings in Proverbs guide us in how to lead wise, godly lives and how to avoid the pitfalls of unwise, ungodly conduct.

I learned a long time ago there are different ways to gain wisdom. We can learn through the school of hard knocks or we can learn by the study of God’s Word and His people; in conjunction with the experiences of the Godly people He places in our life.

The Lord is committed to instructing us, and seeing us grow through the work of the Holy Spirit, but how that guidance and growth takes place is up to us.

We can learn in the storm or we can learn in His sanctuary.

You have to ask yourself, would I rather learn in crisis, learning the hard way, or would I rather learn through the Word and the experiences of others?

And that is why the Book of Proverbs is so priceless – it has a broad, timeless appeal because of its great variety of subjects and their relevance to everyday life.

The way to read the book of Proverbs is to slow down and prayerfully think it through, one proverb at a time.

Reading Proverbs is much like savoring a fine tea or great cup of coffee.

To those who spend the time in Proverbs and heed what God has to say here, He makes this priceless promise – “Wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul” (Proverbs 2:10).

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken from the following sources: Bible Knowledge Commentary, Gospel Transformation Bible notes, Courson’s Old Testament Application Commentary

July 31 – OT Reading

Proverbs 4-6

Proverbs 4

A Father’s Instruction

4 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.”

10 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings And the years of your life will be many. 11 I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body. 23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. 26 Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. 27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.

 

Proverbs 5

Pitfalls of Immorality

5 My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol. She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.

Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her And do not go near the door of her house, Or you will give your vigor to others And your years to the cruel one; 10 And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien; 11 And you groan at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed; 12 And you say, “How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! 13 “I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to my instructors! 14 “I was almost in utter ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. 20 For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? 21 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He watches all his paths. 22 His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. 23 He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

 

Proverbs 6

Parental Counsel

6 My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger, If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth, Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest. How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”— 11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.

12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, 13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; 14 Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. 15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

16 There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. 26 For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. 27 Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? 29 So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished. 30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31 But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. 32 The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. 33 Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. 34 For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)