Category Archives: contentment

Are You Blind?

Proverbs 28:22

“He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.”

Are You Blind?

The first thing that came to mind when I read this proverb was the term “get rich schemes.” But, after a few moments of pondering, a question which I have heard asked many times popped into my head: “Are you blind?”

If you have ever driven in a large, metropolitan city, especially one like New York, then I’m sure you have probably heard someone yell out a colloquial version of, “Hey buddy, ya’ blind!?” Maybe you were asked that question when you turned in front of a taxi. Or, maybe you have asked your child that question after being whacked in the head with a kitchen cabinet door. “Sweetie! Are you blind? Didn’t you see me standing here?”

Bad Vision

Maybe the one who turned in front of the taxi driver had a glass eye? Maybe the child that trips over stuff in the floor needs glasses? Sometimes people have accidents because they are not able to see clearly, like their eyes aren’t working properly.

In the same way, Solomon suggests that the one who rushes to get rich must have a bad (evil) eye. It’s not that his eye is intentionally trying to cause him harm; it must be handicapped. Why else would any sane, logical person with any common sense make haste towards poverty? Could it be the result of a character flaw? Poor instruction? Bad advice? Or, could it be that the one hastening to get rich lacks the ability to see down the road?

Get an Eye Exam

lensesThere is evidently something wrong with one’s vision if he thinks “get rich schemes” are the way to go. Yet, turn on the television, especially late at night (when smart people should be asleep), and you will find all kinds of infomercials promoting some new scheme that promises wealth with little or no effort. And what is one of the things the hosts of the commercials say? “Act now!Hurry, before this opportunity passes you by! This is a limited-time offer!”

What the get-rich-quick-er has a hard time seeing is the road ahead. He cannot see the turns in the road, the holes in the pavement, and brick wall of poverty which will certainly end his journey.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” – Matthew 6:22-23 ESV

So, before you rush to riches, make sure you get an “eye” exam.


If I Were a Rich Man

Proverbs 28:11 

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them. (NLT)

Once again one of the richest men who ever lived is giving the rich a hammering. It seems likely that King Solomon would have encountered most of the richest people in his society, from home and abroad. The question is how many did he hold in high esteem? Not many it would seem if the number of proverbs criticizing the rich is taken as an indicator.

Why did Solomon think so badly of wealthy people? Actually, it is very easy to judge rich people. It seems that the media is constantly reporting on the tomfoolery of pop stars, movie stars, football (soccer) players, and other sports personalities, all of whom seem to have untold wealth when compared with the rest of the population. Most of us would say that it is also undeserved wealth, although in a way we have contributed to that wealth by purchasing music, watching movies, and by buying overpriced tickets for supposedly top-notch sports events.

The last time I took my two youngest children to a Premier League soccer match it cost me over £100 for tickets, travel, etc. I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the performance of the players, although I always enjoy the atmosphere in the stadium. Sadly it seems that many of the young footballers in the UK Premier League are lacking in wisdom when not on the pitch, and wealth seems to play a huge part in this deficiency.

There are certain responsibilities attached to wealth, the most important being to use wealth wisely. Jesus spoke on the subject in the parable of the talents when surprisingly the servant who had been given the most demonstrated the greatest wisdom in his investments. There is a message in that parable for those of us who consider ourselves wealthy in spiritual terms. Such wealth is useless if it is not invested wisely. Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Where is your wealth and how wisely is it invested and used? And in what ways are you poor, and how does this affect your perception?


Justice Understood

Proverbs 28:5

“Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.”
“Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.” – NLT
Media Courtrooms

One of the greatest hindrances to the legal system is the media. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the public can find out what goes on our courtrooms. However, when the public relies solely on the media (especially social media) to keep them abreast of all the details of a trial, nothing but confusion, misinformation, and bad judgment can come from it.Conscience and law

Depending on who is reporting the news, one arrested for a crime might either be portrayed as a monster, or the second coming of Ghandi. Then, when one adds the prejudices of certain segments of society, it wouldn’t matter who did what, just as long as justice is seen to favor the group prejudiced against. In the meantime, as Rome burns, the media fuels the fire for the sake of ratings.

Perspectives

No matter the case, this proverb tells us that from an evil person’s perspective, compared to one who “follows the Lord,” he cannot, under any circumstance, be made to understand justice. No matter the reason for the verdict, if one is convicted for a crime, the evil will always cry, “Foul!

On the other hand, even good people can unwittingly align themselves with evil men. Without knowing all the details, only being fed what the media wants to dish out, they can resort to aberrant behavior. I have seen this happen many times, and have even been on the receiving end of unwarranted righteous indignation. Whatever happened to hearing both sides? Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” Whatever happened to mercy?

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” – Micah 6:8 KJV

Whom Do We Seek?

When we seek our own, selfish desires – the ones that cause us to have the verdicts turn our way – our understanding can be darkened. It is only when we seek the Lord and let Him handle the situation that our eyes and hearts are open to better recognize true justice.

However, crazy as it may sound, for the believer and follower of God, the most outrageous verdicts handed down by the most insane judges are only lower court rulings yet to be tried by the Judge of the Ages. His judgment will be true, righteous, and clear enough for the vilest to understand.

In the meantime, the wise man will never forget these words: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).


Leaving Mayberry

Proverbs 28:2

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.”
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” – NIV
Mayberry

Have you ever noticed that where you see peaceful, law-abiding, respectful, and neighborly people, you rarely see police? Who needs a patrolman at every corner, a police car on every street, and a S.W.A.T. team on stand-by when there’s no crime to speak of?

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knott...

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts from a Jim Nabors television special. Griffith and Knotts revive their Andy and Barney roles for a skit on the show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you remember Andy Griffith’s old show and the town of Mayberry? Mayberry was a fictitious place where Andy was the sheriff and Barney Fife was the deputy with one bullet. The jail in Mayberry was usually occupied by a drunk named Otis, but he had access to the key and could “check out” as soon as he felt sober.

Do you ever remember Andy and Barney having to bust Meth dealers and prostitutes? Was there ever a cry for gun control or government-run healthcare? Was drunk driving a big problem? And, do you ever remember seeing a camera sitting atop the lone red light downtown?

My City

My city…your city…there’s not much difference: none are the Mayberry of the past. There are small towns here and there that resemble Mayberry on the surface, even ones that maintain low crime rates. However, I would dare say there are very few places these days where the sheriff and his lone deputy take the evenings off.

Everywhere we turn there are people calling for more police, traffic cameras, and surveillance of all kinds. Voices from every corner cry out for more supervision and less freedom – for more “princes” in a land lacking “men of understanding.”

“For the transgressions of the land…” Why are there so many laws and lawyers? Why are there so many who feel they need to rule over us? Could it be that we refuse to abide by a higher law? A law written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10)?

It looks like we’ve left Mayberry far behind.


Drip…Drip…Drip…

Proverbs 27:15-16

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.”
“A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.” – NLT

Water Torture

Chinese water torture is a process where a person is strapped down and forced to endure a steady, continuous dripping of water on one’s forehead. I have never experienced it, but I’ve read that it’s pretty horrible.

mythbusters.jpg

mythbusters.jpg (Photo credit: LVCHEN)

As a matter of fact, a popular television program decided to put water torture to the test. MythBusters (seen on The Discovery Channel) convinced a couple of their people to allow themselves to be subjected to Chinese water torture, and the following is from their official website.

“The MythBusters racked and restrained Kari, then turned on a leaky faucet, while Adam endured the drip sitting upright and unrestrained. Throughout the process, both took psychological assessments to track their mental states.

After nearly two hours, Kari started to seriously crack and experienced claustrophobia and shoulder spasms. Adam sat through more than three hours of water torture, and while he wasn’t as shaken as Kari, the procedure proved uncomfortable.

In fact, the preliminary torture trials rattled the MythBusters enough that they called the experiment quits early. Even in a safe environment, the myth of Chinese water torture was deemed too plausible to risk complete confirmation.” *

It would seem, then, that a continual dropping would not be an easy thing to endure.

A Contentious Wife

I can only imagine the inestimable horror that Solomon must have endured. This man, despite his wisdom, took care of nearly 1,000 women (wives and concubines). Out of that number, there had to have been a few who would not stop nagging. He must have had to endure a lot of “rainy days.”

The problem with a contentious, quarrelsome, nagging wife is that she gradually, over time, wears a man down. And no matter what he does to try to console her, every effort is as worthless as grabbing something with greased hands.

All women, including my precious wife, have a unique, God-given ability with words. They know they have this power, too, and often use it to their advantage, especially when they are angry.

But the woman in this proverb is one who never gives her man a break; she’s always on his back about something. Sadly, the results are never what the woman wants. Usually, if the husband doesn’t simply lock himself away in the garage or out on the lake, he will end up leaving her for a woman who flatters his wounded ego.

Drip, Drip, Drip

I have never experienced Chinese water torture or a contentious, quarreling wife. However, I know how annoying a leaky faucet can be, especially when one’s trying to sleep. Drip…drip…drip…drip…drip…

Women, the best advice I can offer is to speak your peace, let your husband know your feelings, then turn it over to God. Then, men, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church, and give yourself for your wife. Mutual respect can go a long way toward avoiding the torture of a long, rainy day.

Source: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/is-chinese-water-torture-effective.htm


What a Day May Bring

Proverbs 27:1

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Making Plans

We love making plans.

Look at government calendars, business agendas, church programs, and a weekly schedule in most personal calendars.

As a people, humans enjoy making plans.

The danger comes in boasting of our plans.

This comes out as almost rubbing it in the faces of others what we are doing or are getting ready to do that they are not.

This comes out as “look at how amazing we are for doing this!”

This comes out as knowing what great things we will accomplish for God … for our glory.

Tomorrow

Let us consider James’ advice from chapter 4 (NIV):

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

We cannot know what will happen tomorrow, or even tonight for that matter.

We may be in a crash. A natural disaster may occur. A family emergency may arise. A terrorist attack might happen.

Anything can happen.

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

It is okay to plan things. We simply must remember Who is in control.

It is okay to celebrate good things. We simply must look at our own motives to ensure we give God all of the glory.

Heavenly Father, grant us the peace to know we do not control our lives, the wisdom to accept our time here on this earth, and a heart that remembers Your greatness over our own.


Trust Him, Honey

Proverbs 25:16

“Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” 

Honey

Believe it or not, I have mixed emotions about honey. I love the flavor and everything about it, except the fact that it is made by insects. Just thinking about the legs and mouths of tiny little bugs preparing my food is creepy. But on the other hand, I try not to think about where milk comes from, either.

But wherever we get it, honey is a wonderful food. It is super sweet, yet healthy. It has anti-bacterial properties and can keep for a long time. It’s good for a quick pick-me-up, or to soothe a sore throat. It’s uses are many. Yet, even with honey, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Sufficient

Western society has a problem knowing when to say, “no.” We eat far more than is sufficient for us, and our waste lines can prove it.

However, some people are starved for good things. Even simple pleasures like honey may be hard for some to get. Therefore, when they do manage to lay hold of them, they eat like there is no tomorrow. They eat until they get sick, which leads to vomiting. They eat more than what was sufficient to meet their need.

Faithless Waste

Why do we eat more than what is sufficient? Most of us overindulge because our bodies allow it. We have grown accustomed to eating more than is sufficient, so we normally have no food left before we reach the point of throwing up. But why do we do it?

Maybe fear (a lack of faith) has a lot to do with it. Like a dog starved of food will gulp down everything it is given in just a few bites, we sicken ourselves on good things like there is no tomorrow.

In Exodus sixteen we can read of how God gave the people of Israel manna in the wilderness. Yet, God told them only to collect enough for each day, and no more; the rest would spoil. There was no need to worry, for God was faithful. Could it be that we have no faith? Could it be that we have trained ourselves to take more than is sufficient because we don’t trust God to provide what is sufficient for tomorrow?

What a waste, especially since all the extra will end up on the ground.