Category Archives: Giving Honor

My Daughters

Proverbs 31:29 

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

What Matters

Over the years I have met many people. Sadly, many of those cared not about the virtues praised in this chapter, only fame, popularity, wealth, and beauty. Parents are often more concerned with whether or not their daughters make the team, wear the crown, win the ribbon, get the rich husband, or fit into that certain dress.

IMG_8999

Alicia on her wedding day.

However, I don’t care so much about all those things. Sure, I want my daughters to be liked and well-off. It even makes me swell with pride when they win awards or turn heads with a glamorous gown. What matters to me is that they become women of honor, courage, strength, and faith. What matters most is that they honor God.

Praise

Unfortunately, most girls get praised for being sexy, selfish, and seductive. Instead of praising the hard-working woman who is faithful to her husband and God, who takes care of her family, we tune in each week to reality shows that make millionaires out of harlots and place a premium on vanity, not virtue.

Haley and Katie @ Bryan College

Moms and dads, husbands, it is our responsibility to praise the woman “that feareth the Lord” (31:30). Whether they be young and in school, or mothers and grandmothers, our “daughters” should be praised for doing “virtuously.” And what higher praise could there be than to say, “Of all the virtuous, godly, Proverbs 31-like women in the world, you are the best“?

That is the praise my wife desires. That’s the praise I hope to teach my daughters to seek.

 

Advertisements

Beautiful Hands

Proverbs 31:10, 13

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Mixed Memories

A long time ago my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) would go shopping for fabric. I will never forget those days, for they were some of the most miserable of my young life.

I was forced to endure the summer heat as they drove around town looking for sales in a ’71 Ford Maverick with no air and little ventilation. I walked beside my mom for what seemed like an eternity as they searched for patterns and fabric that would become my school clothes and their dresses. Women used to be proud to be called seamstresses, but not anymore. But there are exceptions, and my wife is one of them.

A Hard Worker

I have never met a harder worker than my wife, Valerie; she works rings around everyone, including myself. Until she became ill, she was always the first one awake and the last one asleep. She is still the last one to sit down when visitors come to eat, the last one to finish cleaning after a church social, and the only one who can handle a phone call, fold laundry, do dishes, and complete an income tax return at the same time.

On many days my wife hurts so much that no pain medication will touch it. Sometimes one day’s ordinary activity will leave her bed-ridden half of the next. Yet, she never gives up. She enjoys the duties of running a home and only complains when she can’t complete them to her own satisfaction.

Scarred, but Beautiful

When I first read 31:13 I thought of my wife’s hands…of how she loves to sew…of how she always brags on how her grandmother was an excellent seamstress, and how she always dreamed of being like her. I think of how she sewed her own wedding dress and then taught our girls to sew.  Now, because of her fibromyalgia, there are mornings I must rub her fingers before she can even move them, but it isn’t long before they “worketh willingly.”

20 years ago this June!

20 years ago this June!

The hands of a virtuous woman are not the flawless hands of a supermodel; they are scarred. They are scarred from oven burns, needle pricks, tire swing ropes. They are dry from folding laundry, wrinkled from dishwater, and paper-cut from clipping coupons. They are even bruised and sore: bruised from spanking bottoms and applauding home-runs; sore from pushing a discouraged husband out the door and up the ladder.

When I think of the hands of a Proverb 31 woman I don’t think of perfect hands, but I do think of beautiful hands. I think of Valerie’s.

Yes, I found a virtuous wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the rubies in the world.


Oppressing the Poor

Proverbs 22: 22-23 

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
 and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life. (NIV)

Once again the writer challenges our attitudes to the poor. How we treat those who are poorer than us, or even weaker than us is important. Most of us would probably read this proverb and think that it doesn’t apply to us personally because we haven’t robbed or oppressed anybody. Perhaps we haven’t, but are we sure? What about times we have failed to stand up for someone? Take it right back to the school playground where it was easier to walk away than stand up for a fellow pupil facing ridicule or even physical violence. I can remember thinking ‘rather him than me’ on more than one occasion.

Then there is the work place. When I joined the Merchant Navy as a sixteen-year-old cadet it was made perfectly clear to me that I was at the bottom of the pecking order. The chief officer on my first ship used to shout at me regularly, perhaps because he had been treated the same way when he was starting his career. I remember the captain sticking up for me one day and the treatment I received improved a little after that. A few years later when I was an officer I found myself speaking up for a young Rastafarian able seaman who was assigned to my watch. In this case the bosun and another seaman were making this young man’s life a misery, with the knowledge of the chief officer! He had nobody to plead his case until I stepped in. I did not make myself popular in the process, but I could not ignore what was going on.

Oppression takes many forms. Read through these verses again – there is a significant warning in verse 22. Is God challenging you about your attitude to others, or is He calling you to take a stand in someone’s defense today?


A Proud Dad

Proverbs 27:11 – My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Over and over again, I can remember my father introducing me to his friends. It would go something like this, “And this is Jason. He is a chip off the old block”. What my dad was saying about me was that we were (and still are) very much alike. What he liked, I liked. What he enjoyed doing in his spare time, I enjoyed doing in my spare time. What he liked to eat, I liked to eat! I was just a smaller (chip) version of him (block). My dad was proud to call me his son!

father-SonEven though I was a small version of him, there were things that I did to make him proud of me and things that I did that did not make him so proud of me. Those times that I listen to his instructions and was wise in the decisions I made, as our verse says, it made his heart glad. It brought joy to him and even the simplest “attaboy” brought joy to my heart.

We have seen this before in Proverbs 10:1 – “A wise son makes a proud father…”

There are several things we can learn from this verse:

1. There had to be instruction given to the son in order for him to learn or gain the wisdom. Fathers, we can’t expect our children to grow up in this world without giving them the instructions that God has laid out for us to pass along to them. Let’s not miss the opportunity to teach them God’s Word. It may be hard work now but when we are older and our children are following God and teaching their children His Word – I guarantee you there will be many glad hearts.

2. The son had a choice to make. The father may have given up everything to teach and direct him in the way of God, but the son had the final choice in which direction he was going to go. Each of us have to make that choice. Solomon knew his son had to make his own choice, that is why over and over and over again he is pleading with him to get understanding and wisdom.

My prayer is not only will I be willing to instruct my daughter in God’s Word but that she would also be wise and make the right decisions. Now that would make my heart very, very glad!

When we are wise and follow our heavenly Father’s instructions, I can’t help but think HE will have a happy heart as well!

Lord, please guide and direct me as I raise my daughter. Help me to be the man of God that I need to be first, so that I may teach her your Word. Lord I pray that she will hear and understand your Word and listen to your teachings. 


Slings and Stones

Proverbs 26:8

“As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”

Sling Shots

I used to own a pretty sweet sling shot. It had a handle shaped like a pistol grip, along with a metal brace that would go over my forearm. Attached to the forks was rubber tubing and a leather pouch. I could put a lead or steal ball in that sling shot and kill an elephant (at least in my imagination). However, the sling shot that I had as a child could not compare to the ones that were used during biblical times.

Home-made sling.

Home-made sling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one that David used against Goliath was a serious weapon which required considerable skill to use. Sure, my sling shot could kill small vermin and knock down targets at close range, but the type of slings Solomon was referring to could, and did, kill people. In Judges 20:16 we read how the Benjamites had 700 left-handed slingers who could aim at a hair and not miss. In 2 Kings 2:35 we read how that the Israelites used slings in warfare. As a matter of fact, lead shot used by the Greeks and Romans in warfare could have an effective range of over 200 yards.

Amazingly, even though the sling was in use over 3,000 years ago, it is still being used today as a weapon by survivalists and fighters alike.  It would seem that its simple construction, ease of use, low cost, unlimited availability of projectiles, and deadly potential could keep the sling in use forever. In the hands of a trained slinger, it is practically foolproof…unless you bind the stone.

Bound Stones

As good of a weapon that the sling shot is, it is worthless if the stone or shot never leaves the pouch. Sometimes a stone can fall out of the pouch by accident, but putting another one in only takes a second. But the idea of securing the stone to the sling so that it never leaves is like plugging the end of a rifle.

But this is what Solomon is trying to explain. Honor, prestige, wealth, giftedness, glory: all of these things are wonderful tools which can be used to great effect by the wise man. However, when in the possession of the fool, all of these things, especially honor, are worthless.

Implications

Solomon is speaking to the one who actually gives honor to a fool. The fool doesn’t posses honor on his own, but has it given to him. The warning in this verse is really aimed at the one who needs the stone thrown.

Some people will honor people who don’t deserve it with promotions and bonuses, thinking that those blessings will make the fool more of an asset. The problem is that the fool will not share in the honor given, nor will he use it appropriately. Therefore, instead of being useful, the fool has now become a liability, much like a soldier who refuses to fight.

Beware of political correctness. Beware of honoring for the sake of honoring. The one who truly makes honor worthless is the one who gives it to the fool in the first place.

 


A Challenge to Changers

Proverbs 24:21-22

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? – KJV
My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don’t associate with rebels, for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king? – NLT

Authority

This may be the only place in Scripture where God and an earthly king are spoken of as peers. It shouldn’t be considered the norm, but it is done in such a way to stress the importance of not only authority, but the link between authority and earthly leadership. Not all kings are godly, but no king rules without God’s knowledge.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. – Romans 13:1 KJV

Therefore, it is important to understand that when we stand in opposition to the king, we may be standing in opposition to God. Rebellion may be an option at times, but those who enter into it should be wary of the consequences.

Change

I wonder where these verses were during the 2008 presidential election? Many Obama supporters were running around America demanding “change,” yet when asked what they wanted to change to, no reasonable answer was given. Most would simply reply, “Well, anything is better than what we have.”

Change for change’s sake is terribly dangerous. Those who want to change leadership for the sole reason of “change” run the risk of destruction. Solomon warns us to stay away from people like that, for they have obviously given no thought to the consequences of their actions.

Fear God, Honor the King

Ultimately, the wise man will keep attempt to keep things in their proper perspective. God and the earthly kings are not on the same level, and if one is to be obeyed over the other, it should be God that is obeyed first and last. 1 Peter 2:17b reminds us to give due honor to the king (those in authority), but to “fear God.”

During political engagements there is the temptation to be disrespectful of those in authority, especially when we don’t agree with them. But let this proverb remind us that all authority is from God, and unless we have clear direction to stand against it, rebellion is affront not only to the king, but the King of Kings.

Be wise and tread carefully.


Moving the Goalposts

Proverbs 22:28 

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations. (NLT)

My house is one of a cul-de-sac of eleven homes that were built in the late 1980s on land that was previously an apple orchard. Owners of bungalows behind the new cul-de-sac believed that bungalows would be built in the orchard. Instead the developer built two-story homes that overlooked the bungalows. To placate the mainly elderly bungalow dwellers the developer erected a six-foot high fence between the new houses and the bungalows.

All was well until my rear fence blew down in a storm. The neighbor in the bungalow behind my house soon asked me when I would carry out repairs. I told him that according to my deeds the fence was his responsibility, and showed him the deeds. He then admitted that the fence had been built eighteen inches on my side of the original boundary and that he had removed the previous fence and gained eighteen inches of garden. Eighteen inches of my garden to be precise. Although hardly an ancient landmark, the boundary had been moved.

I do not believe that my neighbor intended to cheat me. He just did what seemed logical, never expecting to be rumbled one day. Am I bothered? Not really. I never had that eighteen-inch strip of land, and my neighbor is a good man, who on viewing my deeds immediately agreed to pay for the fence repair. Others may have taken a different view and demanded that the fence be moved.

moving-the-goal-posts_dilbert_9498While the removal of ancient landmarks was a serious offence when this proverb was written, the issue remains relevant today, but not only where property is concerned. The modern day equivalent in the UK is ‘moving the goalposts.’ This metaphor may have its origins in sport, but is increasingly used to describe an agreement or business deal where one party changes the conditions to the detriment of the other. The word cheat, as used in the NLT translation of this verse, is an apt description of a person who moves a boundary, the goalposts, or acts in a generally devious manner that harms another person to the benefit of the cheat.

There are goalposts or boundaries set for us by God that we should never try to move. In Acts 17:26 Paul states:  ‘From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.’ That is a mind-blowing statement. God who knows no boundaries is so involved in every aspect of our daily lives that He marked out boundaries for when and where we should live. This means that you are where you are now because God placed you there, and God wants you there. It is futile to try to move God’s goalposts. Instead we should rejoice in His intimate involvement in our lives.