Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him!

Appreciate What You Have

The following are three different translations of the same verse:

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 KJV

A lazy hunter doesn’t roast his game, but to a diligent person, his wealth is precious. – Proverbs 12:27 CSB

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find. – Proverbs 12:27 NLT

However you look at it, according to this verse there are two types of people in this world: those who don’t care about what they have and those who do.

The slothful or lazy hunter – lazy people in general – are so often the most blessed people in the world. I mean, seriously, isn’t it the case where so often they have more than they need, more than enough to make something of themselves, yet let it all rot?

People today are so far removed from those of “the greatest generation” that they have no idea how good they actually have it. The poorest people in America are richer than many of the wealthy in other countries, and what they can waste on a daily basis is proof positive.

But to the diligent person…the person who works hard…the person who doesn’t expect a handout, but understands the value of persistence…the one who knows that tomorrow’s hunt might not go as well…the one who is grateful for what he has…what he has is precious, because he appreciates what it took to possess it.

Remember that “the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth” (Deut. 8:18), and whatever you collect in the hunting trip of life is ultimately a reflection of the mercy of God. Don’t take it for granted, and for heaven’s sake don’t waste it.

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My Expectation Will Hold

When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth. – Proverbs 11:7 KJV

This is a fascinating verse to contemplate, so please take a moment to think about these words with me.

Other Translations

If you don’t already know, I love the King James Version of the Bible, but I am not a King James Only-ist by any stretch of the imagination. However, there are times when I wish modern translators could have left well enough alone.

For example, below are four different versions of Proverbs 11:7, each from a very popular translation.

NLT – When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.

NIV – Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

ESV – When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

CSB – When the wicked person dies, his expectation comes to nothing, and hope placed in wealth vanishes.

If you will indulge me for a moment, let’s look at the differences.

The NLT (New Living Translation) changes the word translated “expectation” in the KJV to the plural word “hopes.” Then, somehow “feeble strength” gets thrown in.

The NIV (New Internation Version) translators somehow determined that the “expectation,” or “hope,” is actually in the (wicked) mortal who dies.

The ESV (English Standard Version) seems to imply that the “hope” is not necessarily in the wicked, but they continue in the same idea that when the wicked die there is lost investment.

The CSB (Christian Standard Bible) stays closer to the KJV in the first part of the verse in that it does not overtly imply that the “expectation” is in the wicked, but a possession of the wicked. But in the second part of the verse, it sides more with the ESV and assumes that “hope” is money or “wealth.”

Like I said before, I’m not a KJV-only-ist. I have found each of the above versions useful in my study of the Bible. However, one word, in particular, makes me wish they’d kept things unchanged, or at least interpreted differently.

Expectation

The Hebrew word that is translated as “expectation” is a word that literally means “rope.” Consider the following definition from Strongs Concordance:

תִּקְוָה tiqvâh, tik-vaw’; from H6960; (compare H6961) literally a cord (as an attachment); figuratively, expectancy:—expectation(-ted), hope, live, thing that I long for.

The first two times this word is used in the Old Testament is in Joshua 2:18 and 21. This is the story where Rahab the harlot is given the assurance that she and her household will not be harmed, just as long as she hangs a scarlet cord from the window of her home on the wall of Jericho.

The same word translated “cord” in Joshua 2:18 and 21 is translated “expectation” in Proverbs 11:7. Now, this does not necessarily mean that the “expectation” of the wicked is a rope, but it does give me the idea that what the wicked man has is something that he’s depending on to save him.

Granted, I could be wrong in my interpretation of this verse, but it would seem to me that it’s not too much to believe that the wicked man’s “expectation” is the hope and trust he has in something that will hold on to him, guide him, or keep him after death. It could mean that when a wicked man dies all the hopes others have in him will die with him, but considering the context of the surrounding verses (11:6 and 11:8), I think my interpretation holds more water.

My Expectation

Thankfully, my “expectation” is more akin to the scarlet thread that Rahab hung from her window than anything I can come up with on my own. What I’m counting on to pull me through death into eternal life is the “scarlet thread” woven throughout all of Scripture, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”

When I die, my expectation will hold.


Don’t Play Red Rover With God

Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. – Proverbs 11:21

I don’t know if saying “I love this verse” is the right and proper thing, but it does cause me to smile. Reading it brings a sense of comfort, sort of like God whispering in my ear, “Don’t worry, I’ll handle this.”

Mankind hasn’t really changed since the days when they decided to build a tower to the heavens and make a name for themselves (Gen. 11:4). They believe that if they can just come together, hand in hand, they can do anything. It doesn’t hurt to make a music video, either – just ask Michael Jackson.

Unfortunately, even though we humans do good things when we are unified, we tend to think the collective power of organized masses can overturn the laws of God.

Our modern versions of the tower of Babel take the shape of poll numbers, protests, million-man marches, voting majorities, screaming at the sky, and tens of thousands of pink ______ hats. They look like celebrity award shows, hashtags, and fabricated crises. All are meant to unify. All are meant to push an agenda.

Much of the time the agenda is to silence the voice of God, overturn His law, or throw Him out completely.

Yet, even though a recent survey stated that a majority of Americans (61%) are linked hand-in-hand in support of abortion, God says the wicked will not go unpunished.

When I was a kid we used to play a game called “Red Rover.” The idea was to line up in a line and hold hands, then send a kid from an opposing team into the line in order to break through. We would all line up and then call out to the opposing team to send a kid of our choosing, and if the kid didn’t break through, he was ours. We’d say, “Red rover, red rover, send Bobby (the weak kid) on over.”

No one ever yelled out, “Red rover, red rover, send Goliath on over!”

But the wicked are hand-in-hand, screaming at the sky, saying with a loud voice, “Red rover, red rover, send YHWH… the Great I Am… the Lion of the tribe of Judah… Elohim… Mighty God on over!”

“Though hand join in hand,” the wicked line of rebellion will not hold.

And I can’t help but grin.

Below is a cute video depicting how Red Rover works.


Chapter 10 Radio Version

Even though we are already in chapter 11, I recorded the attached program to be aired today on a local radio station.

If you would like to follow along with a “study guide,” most of the program was taken from posts I wrote several years ago. You can find the links to those posts under the tabs at the top of the page.

I do want to thank Daniel Klem for pulling a lot of the weight around here, though. He’s been doing a lot of the writing, and I appreciate that. I hope to be back in the game sooner than later.

God bless, and have a great Lord’s Day!

Anthony

Clicking on the picture will link you to the recording.


Contrasting the Parallelisms

A New Section

You may notice that starting here in chapter 10, the verses read a little differently. The reason is that here we see the beginning of the second part of this book (Prov. 10:1-22:16) which contains what are called “parallelisms.”

Parallelisms are grammatical and poetical devices which both help make a point and make the point easier to process while including an easier-to-remember element.

Sometimes parallelisms are antithetic (Prov. 10:1-15:33), while others are synthetic (Prov. 16:1-22:16). The first use two lines of prose to make a contrast; the second uses two lines to point out similarities.

A good extra-biblical example of antithetic parallelism can be seen in the words of Sir Winston Churchill (House of Commons, 22 October 1945):

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

A good example of antithetic parallelism from chapter 10 might be the following verse:

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. – Proverbs 10:12

Churchill made a positive point about capitalism, but he did it by contrasting the “vice” of capitalism with the “virtue” of socialism. Solomon highlighted the caring and peaceful value of love by contrasting it with strife: false love can be exposed by the debris it stirs up.

However, neither kinds of parallelisms are meant to be understood as all-encompassing. Some are best understood as being more “rule-of-thumb” than absolute (i.e., Prov. 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” yet some children leave and never return).

Unpacking It All

Because there is no real way to connect all of these parallelisms into one coherent message, unlike the previous chapters which addressed particular themes, we could take a long time unpacking each one. Therefore, I would encourage you to go back and check out our past commentary on Proverbial Thought which dealt with each individual verse. You can do that by clicking on the tabs at the top of the page (chapters 9-12 will be uploaded soon).

But for now, since this time we are going through Proverbs in a more condensed fashion, we will only be addressing the verses which most stand out to the particular writer.

I’m looking forward to reading what the Holy Spirit shows the other writers. It should be interesting.

That being said…

Thinking of Proverbs 10:12 (as seen above), isn’t it wonderful when we choose not to bring up past wrongs, but rather let things lie, even cover them with a blanket of grace?

Solomon isn’t talking about sweeping guilt under a rug or denying wrongdoing or sin (such as abuse); he’s talking about forgiveness.

Sometimes the better part of forgiveness is to keep some things packed away and forgotten. Real love seeks healing; false love (hatred, selfishness, pride) demands a never-ending string of “I’m sorry’s” and never lets the dust settle on the past.

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 CSB


“Before Abraham…I Am”

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. – Proverbs 8:23

Before we leave Proverbs chapter 8, I want us to notice one of the most glorious truths displayed in all of Scripture: the eternality of Jesus Christ.

Notice in verses 22-31 that at least six different times Wisdom is mentioned as having been with God from before the foundation of the earth. Carefully read through these verses in Proverbs while you consider the following:

  • In John 1:1-2 Jesus is called the Word of God who was with God and was God.
  • In John 8:58 Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
  • In John 17:24 we read where Jesus was praying to the Father and said: “My glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
  • Speaking of the coming Messiah, Isaiah 9:6 calls Him “the Everlasting.”
  • Micah 5:2, also speaking of the coming Messiah, said: “His goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.”
  • In Hebrews 13:8 we read that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
  • In Revelation 1:11 Jesus says of Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last…”
  • And if it was ever a question that Jesus claimed to be God, when you compare John 8:58 and Revelation 1:11 to Isaiah 48:12, then there should be no doubt: “I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.”

Make no mistake, the parallels are too similar to deny…Jesus, the Power and Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24), is being prophetically referenced here in this chapter. As the Holy Spirit moved through the prophet David, Solomon’s father, to write Psalm 22 in anticipation of the crucifixion, so does He move through Solomon to describe the glorious, eternal nature of the Messiah, Jesus.

But there’s one more thing I want you to see… His delights are with the sons of men (Proverbs 8:31).

The Word of God made flesh…the Wisdom of God who was there before the foundation of the world…the Savior who came and dwelt among us (Emmanuel – see Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23)…

He delights to be with you and me! He literally wants to spend time with us because he loves and cares for us.

Therefore, considering what we’ve read, we should all the more take seriously the closing verse in this chapter.

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. – Proverbs 8:36

To seek Wisdom is a choice, but failing to do so can have eternal ramifications.


Brazen Church Girl

Today I decided to post a rerun from 2012. I couldn’t say it any better if I re-wrote it today.

Proverbs 7:13-15

“So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.”

One of the greatest myths is that all church-going girls are “good” girls. These verses are a good example. Not only has this woman been waiting in the dark for her prey, she is openly religious, and uses her surface piety to lure the fool. But let’s break down these verses one at a time.

“So she caught him, and kissed him..”

Look who is the aggressor; it’s not the man. Conventional wisdom (not godly wisdom) has taught us that men are always the aggressor and that women should be wary. However, there are plenty of young women, as young as middle school, who know exactly what they want, and how to get it. Consider the words of this mother…

“I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive 15-year-old son. I have literally been chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade. … The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words. Their dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man, what’s a guy to do? Moreover, what’s a mom to do?” (source, Family Life Today)

“Impudent face…”

It is amazing how people can look you right in the eye and tell a bold-face lie. That is what this woman was doing. The Hebrew word translated here as “impudent” could also be translated as brazen. She just looked this naive boy in the face and told him what he wanted to hear.

“Peace offerings…vows…found thee.” 

It is obvious in verses 14 and 15 that something doesn’t add up. Why is it that a woman of the night would be telling this young man about how she went to church? Oh, it’s pretty simple, really. She was just saying what a good Jewish boy wanted to hear.

Here was the total, irresistible package: a young, gorgeous and religious woman calling out to be rescued from breaking the Law. “I am so glad I found you! You’re the answer to my prayers! This must be God’s will,” she essentially said.

In the Old Testament, when a peace offering was made, the leftover meat was to be eaten that night, and no later (Lev. 7:15). She presented her case in such a way that said, “We have to do this now!” She played to his religious chivalry.

When this woman grabbed the man, kissed him, lied to him, and trapped him, she did it with everything that said: “This must be a good girl – she’s only trying to do the right thing – and she likes me!” I can almost imagine him repeating the words of an old Debbie Boone song, “This can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

A Prayer

Oh, Lord God, open our eyes to the tricks of the Enemy! Give us the wisdom we need to discern between a treasure far above rubies (Prov. 31:10) and a trap. Help us to teach our sons and daughters to be godly. Help us to be parents who set the example.