Category Archives: conversation/speech

Rest Will Come…One Day

Proverbs 29:9

“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”

The first thing we should understand is that this proverb’s setting, according to most commentaries, is in something like a courtroom. The word “contendeth” implies such. However, as we watch the “wise” contending with “fools” in courtrooms around the world, it is becoming harder and harder to determine which is the defendant.

In most situations, if you were to walk into a courtroom, you would expect the “wise” to be on the side of the prosecution, while the “foolish man” would be the other guy: the one slobbering on himself, freaking out, and making outrageous, unreasonable arguments for his case. But sadly, especially in the cases where God is on trial; where morals, faith, and family are under assault; where Christ is deemed an unnecessary and offensive part of Christmas, the “wise” are on the defense.

Consider the following commentary on Proverbs 29:9. As you read it, think of those who want to remove any resemblance of faith and religion from the public square, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Richard Dawkins, etc.

He makes his argument not by logic, reason, or clear evidence but in a range of wild responses in which he “rages [a verb for “earthquake” in 30:21; Amos 8:8] or laughs,” probably in a mocking, sneering fashion to try to sway the verdict. The “peace” that ought to come from reconciliation, or at least a sound decision, is impossible. The matter bubbles on interminably to the pain of the wise and the distress of the community.[1]

English: Professor . Español: Profesor Richard...

In a public speech to his fellow atheists gathering in Washington, D.C., Richard Dawkins gave some suggestions. When contending with those who believe in God, especially Christians, he advised: Mock them. Ridicule them. In public…with contempt. Chillingly, in predictive fashion, the Bible says “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts…” (2 Pet. 3:3). We must be getting close.

One day the Righteous Judge will hold court, but don’t lose hope. Even though we may have acted like fools in one way or another, those of us who’s Advocate is Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 2:1) have nothing to fear. Wisdom personified will argue on our behalf.

The foolish man, however, will be able to argue his own case. And once again, with rage and contempt, spewing out all manner of hatred and vile, he will attempt to justify himself.

But on that day, God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7). 


[1] David A. Hubbard and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Proverbs, vol. 15, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 462.

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Reflections of Reality

Proverbs 27:19

“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
“As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.” – ESV

A Little Complicated

Today’s proverb, especially in the King James Version, is not for the casual reader. The wording is complicated, to say the least. But even when we look at other translations, the truth of this proverb, like a flower in mid-bloom, is never fully revealed.

It seems that verse 19 is an extension of verse 17, but it takes “iron sharpeneth iron” to a deeper level, “where one is to seek out and discern good advice, but also to heed the counsel of one’s heart (as well as pray!).”[1]

There are evidently several ways to interpret this passage. The New American Commentary explains: “Some take it to mean that one sees one’s inner self reflected in the face of a companion; and others, that one comes to self-understanding by introspection.”[2] However, the explanation of this proverb may be no more complicated than the need to see ourselves for who we really are.

Exposing Reality

A friend once had some things happen that caused him to react in a very fleshly, un-Christian way. Because of the circumstances that led to his angry response to an obvious injustice, I was not going to judge him or think less of him in any way; I might have done the same thing had I been in his shoes.

But that evening, after reading Proverbs chapter 6 in preparation for the next day’s Sunday school class, my friend called me on the phone to apologize for his actions. Then, the next morning in class, as we talked about how reading the Bible exposes who we really are, my friend said, “But sometimes what I see in the reflection is not really me.”

mirrorAh, but that’s not so!” I replied. The fact, I explained, is that when we peer down into the water of God’s word, the reflection we see is the only accurate reflection available. While other mirrors show us what we want to see, the Bible reflects our reality.

“But that’s not who I want to be…I’m not that way,” he said. “Oh,” I replied, “but that is who you are…who we all are…The heart is wicked and capable of all kinds of things, and God’s word reminds us of that.”

The Point

So what’s the point? Is there any hope? Sure there is! It is only when we are able to reflect on who we really are, when we can see ourselves face-to-face, than we can move beyond the pretenses of our own pride and self-righteousness.

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” – Colossians  3:8-10 NLT


[1] Rowland E. Murphy, Proverbs, vol. 22, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 209.

[2] Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 220.


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


Time to Think (or I’ll be in trouble)

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.”
Changing Schedule

On a practical note, Proverbs 27:15 and 16 were originally scheduled for two separate posts. But on further reflection, they seemed to be better suited to be covered in one post. At first I did not think this was a wise idea, having always read verse 15 by itself. However, when I began reading these two verses together, it seemed obvious they were meant to be that way.

Therefore, instead of having a day with nothing said, you are receiving a bonus! Tomorrow we will look at these verses in more detail.

In the meantime…

Choosing Words

One of the greatest lessons a wise man can learn is when to speak…and when NOT to speak. This is especially true for men who are married (to women, that is). There is always a price to pay when we fail to choose our words carefully.

When I shared with my wife what I was going to be addressing for today’s “thought,” she made her thoughts very clear: “I hope you let everyone know that your wife is NOT like that.”

So, if I am supposed to write about Proverbs 27:15-16, how am I supposed to do it as one with any experience? If I say, “I know what Solomon’s talking about,” then I am certain to suffer. If I confess that I have never experienced the continual dropping of a very, very, almost endless rainy day, then my wisdom might be called into question. What should I do?

Suggestions

Dear friends, what are YOUR thoughts? How do YOU think I should handle this?

But before you make any suggestions, read the selected passage in the New Living Translation. I would hate for you to underestimate the gravity of the task ahead of me.

“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

If I get this wrong, my lovely, pleasant, peaceful, easy-going, wife could choose to make my days very rainy, indeed.


Wake Up, Sleepy Head!

Proverbs 27:14

“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”
“A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!” – NLT
Wake Up!

Have you ever been fast asleep, dreaming of wonderful, happy times, then harshly brought back to consciousness by the loud, obnoxious, startling voice of an overly-cheerful, early-rising friend? Did you want to throw a heavy boot at his head?

There is nothing too spiritual about this proverb, in my opinion. It is not much more  than a warning to the early risers in the world. Those who scare people with a loud, “Good morning!” or “Wake up! It’s a beautiful day!” run the risk of serious injury, or at least being cursed.

Friendly Intentions

The point that Solomon is trying to make in this proverb is that even though one may have his friend’s best interests at heart, doing a good deed in the wrong manner may harm a relationship, not bless it.

In reality, a true friend should know another well enough to understand what will and will not offend. A real friend would know better than to storm into a deep sleeper’s room and scream out, “Time to wake up!” Even a happy, early riser should know better than to expect much movement from a friend who must have a cup of coffee before opening his eyes.

So, before you go out and try to do something “nice” for someone else, make sure you are not overstepping any boundaries. If you don’t use wisdom, what you intend for good might become a wake up call for you.


Afflicted and Ruined

Proverbs 26:28.
“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” (KJV). 

Life Lessons:

There are three main places where we go to learn things. One is the home – where we learn from our parents. Ideally, we learn here values, morals, good habits and etiquette. Second is the school, where we learn the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic. (I know, neither writing nor arithmetic – math – start with the letter ‘R’, but that’s what they used to call it back in the day). And finally, the third is the church, where we learn about the love of God, how to know Him, how there’s a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.

At church, we have the benefit of learning from the wisest of all wise – God Himself. The Bible is the Word of God, and in it we learn wise lessons for living life. I want to challenge you, reader – do you read the Bible? If not, then what are you waiting for? A virtual treasure trove of wisdom awaits you!

SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon, an old Baptist preacher from the 19th Century (known affectionately as the Prince of Preachers) had this to say about the Bible: “The best food for you is the word of God itself. Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality. It is always best to drink at the well and not from the tank. You shall find that reading the word of God for yourselves, reading it rather than notes upon it, is the surest way of growing in grace.” The challenge is this: Read the Bible!

Warnings against Lying and Flattery:

After that lengthy introduction, let us now come to today’s text. Here Solomon says: “A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin.” (NLT). Let us look at both of these warnings separately here.

First of all, in the KJV of this verse, Solomon tells us that a lying tongue causes affliction. The original Hebrew word sheqer translated lying means lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood, deceit, fraud, wrong, to testify falsely. And when you lie, you cause affliction. That Hebrew word dak means to oppress or crush someone. Anytime you lie about someone, you are afflicting, oppressing or crushing them. Think about that the next time you go to tell a lie! And Solomon also says here that when you lie about someone, it shows that you hate them.

Secondly, Solomon tells us that a flattering mouth works ruin. Flattery means to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively. I don’t mind an encouraging word of affirmation if it is sincere, but someone who flatters insincerely causes ruin. So be warned – our words are powerful, and if we don’t use them wisely, we can cause affliction and bring ruin!


The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Proverbs 26:24-26

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for [there are] seven abominations in his heart. [Whose] hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the [whole] congregation.” 

The Big Shots

Yesterday, David looked at verse 23 dealing with those who cover up their wickedness to look good. These verses come out of that.

He mentioned the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Today we tend to think about politicians or corporate bigwigs that put up a front to look good for their employees or their constituents. In truth, they are only out for their own gain.

The really bad ones are those who will stop at nothing, hurt anyone to get what they want or to be entertained.

The Church Enemy

The scariest ones are those in the Church.

Who are they? They are the church-goers who:

  • Gossip (sometimes through “prayer requests”)
  • Complain about everything at the church
  • Complain about everything in life
  • Live two separate lives: one at church and one everywhere else
  • Purposefully disobey the pastor or church teachings
  • Cause divisions (start fights, spread malicious rumors, etc.)
  • Give the minimum effort (and usually have excuses)
  • Never give any effort at church (and always have excuses, if they talk about it)
  • Those who justify every action they take (usually with “But you have to understand …”)
  • Who start debates with “I am a Christian, so …” and then attempt to defend non-Christian behaviors and actions.

I could go on for a very long time. They act like they love others, but they really hate.

The question is …

Did you see yourself in that list?

The scariest enemy is the one who acts like your friend. Read Galatians 5:19-21 for Paul’s list of who they are.

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all the falseness and pretense from our lives. Create in us a clean heart free of all malice, deceit, and wickedness. Help us to be followers of You and not the father of lies.