Category Archives: Love

Another Perspective on 10:12 (Web Exclusive)

Proverbs 10:12

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”

Hatred

One of the problems with people is that they can’t tell the difference between love and hate. Even recently a now-former professional football star’s wife came out in his defense after punching her in an elevator. She thinks he loves her!

False love can take many shapes. Envy, lust, jealousy, and possessiveness all dress up like love, but underneath the woolly exterior is a hungry, deadly beast. In reality, what many call “love” is actually hatred. The love of a man towards his wife, as explained in the fifth chapter of Ephesians, is clearly defined as a sacrificial one, the kind that would no sooner strike his wife than himself.

Real Love

True love can be seen in the last part of 10:12. True love would rather deal with hurt privately than publicly. A real love would bear reproach, suffer shame, and seek the greater long-term good rather than immediate retribution.

Jesus showed true love for the world by going to the cross, bearing our sin, our shame, and our blows.

Now that I think about it, maybe Mr. Rice’s wife loves him more than he loves her.

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Gather Now!

Proverbs 10:5

“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.”

Of Ants and Grasshoppers and Men

Many have heard of Aesop’s fable about an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper spends the summer having fun and not working. (My wife and I can understand that, as we both currently work in schools with summers off!) The ant works hard all summer saving up food for the winter months. When winter comes, the grasshopper is starving while the ant is thriving. Some versions show the message of grace by having the ant share some of its food with the grasshopper. (Darker versions only have the ant rebuking the grasshopper … who dies.)

The moral is that idleness and laziness can lead to ruin, but hard work pays off for tomorrow.

One of the problems of the so-called welfare state, in which the government covers most or all of individuals’ needs, is that many people become, well, lazy and dependent. This is the main reason most political conservatives distrust government programs which support people, such as prolonged unemployment benefits.

God’s Thoughts

One of my favorite passages from the Bible, Matthew 25,  includes the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats. They all have the same point: do not spend your time fooling around, but be prepared.

Sure, we are commanded to not worry about tomorrow, but the best way to not worry is to be prepared!

This is a good time to remind us all that these parables, and therefore today’s proverb, tell us that we cannot rest with an understanding that we are safe, that “I am saved!”

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, sure, but it came with a call: love others. A Christian’s salvation is evidenced by showing love to others; by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked; by weeping with the broken-hearted and healing the hurt; by seeking and reaching out to the lost; by preparing our hearts by drawing near to Him.

Great Lord, we thank You for having a plan for and saving us. Help us to not only prepare for our near future, to be good stewards of what You have given us, but also help us to prepare for eternity. Grow Your love in us, that we may love as You love.


Dependent on Grace

Proverbs 9:11

“For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.”

Health and Safety

Before the days of VCRs and DVDs, ships were supplied with movies on large 16mm reels of film. Each movie usually involved three large reels. Crews could expect to receive a supply of six movies at a time, which could be changed in port several times a year. Every movie began with a short safety feature covering different aspects of shipboard life. It wasn’t possible to skip these items in the way that a cassette or DVD can be fast forwarded, but the makers attempted to make them interesting so that they would be remembered.

The wisdom involved in operating a ship safely cannot be obtained simply from watching movie clips. There are many dangers at sea. While it is wise to educate seafarers in any way possible, training must be supplemented by experience if accidents are to be minimized, and loss of life avoided.

Grace

Wisdom that multiplies our days and extends the years of life cannot be found in a training movie. There is no earthly wisdom that can stand in the presence of God’s grace. In 2 Corinthians 1 the Apostle Paul writes; “We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own earthly wisdom.” Paul recognized that earthly wisdom and years of experience are overruled by God’s grace, which exists outside of all human experience.

Human wisdom considers it folly that God would send Jesus Christ to walk upon this planet. Human minds find it difficult to understand why God would allow created beings to torture and murder His precious Son. But He did. Why? Because of grace.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)

Wisdom may be required extend our days on earth, but it is grace that takes us beyond earth into the presence of our Creator. He alone offers the gift of eternal life.


Eternal Wisdom

Proverbs 9:1-5 

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.”

Made-Up or From Before

Many in our world today will try to tell you that truth is what you make it. Wisdom is understanding how your world works for you.

In other words, make it up as you go along! You are what you want to be!

In a sense, that last part is true. We have a tendency to get in our own way, because we do not believe we can do something we are able to do. Or we do not believe others can love us. Or we believe that God cannot forgive us for what we have done.

But we know this is not true, because the Bible tells us so. We read just a few days ago:

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

Wisdom, whom we have discussed is God and realized in Jesus Christ, was established in eternity. This means wisdom is not something we can just make work for us or discover in ourselves.

Built, Bread, and Wine

Jesus Christ proved His Godhood through the Resurrection and ascension. He has told us:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” – John 14:2-3 KJV

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” – Luke 22:19-20 KJV

The Moral

Jesus of Nazareth has built His house (the Church), has killed the “beasts” (sin and death), and sent out His call (the Great Commission).

To leave “simple ways,” seek understanding, turn from foolishness, and find wisdom is to find Jesus.

Father, thank You for revealing Your Son, Jesus Christ, to the world. Thank You for Your Wisdom and grace, as revealed through Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for preparing a place for us. Help us to cling tightly to our Lord, and help us to introduce Your Wisdom to the world through love, grace, forgiveness, gentleness, and humility, as Your Son did for us.

 

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Abundant Results

Proverbs 8:20-21

“I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”

In the Midst

I used to work in a college textbook store. It required a balance of maintaining enough stock, having trustworthy and hardworking employees, and great customer service. It also required a watchful eye to detail and an understanding of when and how to trust people.

There were always people trying to steal textbooks to sell “back” to other stores or to us from other stores. Sometimes this included employees from stores.

I had gained the reputation of catching thieves, and my store had virtually no thefts for over a year (other than a few small general merchandise items).

Not only that, for the first time in almost 40 years in the company, my store had a perfect inventory.

That caused my superiors to wonder, because the last several times there were perfect inventories…people were covering up theft.

When I became manager, I decided immediately to document everything and double-check everything. I am in no way claiming to be perfect, and I did make some mistakes from time to time. However, when my superiors came in to test me and confirm my inventory, they were impressed with my level of documentation and confirmed the numbers.

On two different sides, theft and inventory, I was being watched and judged. It was only my committment to God and His Word that helped me maintain that order.

Following Wisdom

We all live in a world that hates truth and the things of God.

If you are a Christian, you will walk a narrow path between two groups judging every step you take: those who hate Christians and those who look for any reason you might not be a Christian (some call these the legalists).

However, if you are following Jesus (the true Wisdom of God), then you will overcome these judgements against you in this world.

If you live by what God has said, you will have life abundant.

If you follow Jesus, you will inherit everlasting life.

Jesus said “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29, NIV)

Lord, help us to follow You. We know it will be hard. We know it will bring troubles to us in this life. We know we can only make it with your help. Give us Your strength and wisdom to live a righteous life, holy and pleasing to You.

 

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Seek and Find

Proverbs 8:17

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

The Simplicity of Wisdom

This verse appears to require little explanation. Perhaps we should consider it a blessing that there is such simplicity in wisdom. There is also wisdom in simplicity. It makes it easy when something isn’t difficult to understand. Put simply, “God loves those who love Him.” While Scripture teaches and Jesus demonstrates that God offers His love to this fallen world unconditionally, God’s love has to be received, and it has to be reciprocated.

How to Love?

When as a teenager I found myself falling in love with my wife all I wanted to do was spend time alone with her. This was difficult for much of the year because I was serving at sea. The long absences made our time together even more precious. When I was home on leave and Marilyn wasn’t at work we spent as much time in each other’s company as we could. The longer I spent with Marilyn the deeper my love for her became; to the point that we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. We were married on 14 April 1979.

Progressing from Honeymoon

For our honeymoon Marilyn and I spent a week in the beautiful island of Guernsey, where I grew up. Walking together one day through the quaint streets of St Peter Port I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed with love for my wife. It was an incredible experience, a unique honeymoon blessing.

Every honeymoon has to end, but love between marriage partners should continue to grow. As love grows it changes. If it does not then there is a risk it may fail. After thirty-three years of marriage our love is very different to how it was during those carefree days of youth.

Equally, it is essential that our relationship with God progresses from the honeymoon period when we first came to know Him. It is vital that our love for God grows and develops, strengthening our relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter how far we have traveled on our faith journey. Regardless of how much we think we have grown, we still need to be overwhelmed by God’s love every day. But in addition to us receiving love from God, I truly believe that Proverbs 8:17 is stating that God desires to be overwhelmed by our love for Him.

How can we show God that we love Him? The answer is the second part of the verse:

Those that seek me early shall find me.

Why early? Because setting aside distractions and committing to spending time alone with God early each day shows that our love for Him is more important to us than anything else in our lives. Perhaps only then will we realize how important we are to Him. The Father of Jesus loves us very much.

 

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No Comparison

Proverbs 8:10-11 

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Can’t Buy Me Love

I was only a tiny tike when the Beatles made girls scream and cry like someone was burning them with a hot iron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born when their music hit American shores. But the first thing that came to mind as I read these verses for today was a song that the Beatles recorded back in 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The song talks about money and all the things it can buy; everything, that is, except love. Love has to be given freely, or else it’s something else (like discussed in chapter 7). True love cannot be bought with even the most valuable stones or purest gold.

On the other hand, it is reported that after the Beatles became superstars, Paul McCartney thought it might have been better to rename Can’t Buy Me Love. When looking back on all the pleasures that money did bring he said, “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love.’ ” I guess if one’s definition of love is based on the world’s wisdom, anything’s for sale.

No Comparison

In verse eleven we read, “all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to [wisdom].” No matter how shiny or fulfilling, nothing compares. No matter how expensive, rare, or desirable, nothing compares to the value of wisdom.

Money can buy a lot of things, including a Proverbs 7 kind of “love.” The finest gold can open doors. Silver can put a house over your head. Rubies can even inspire others to stand in awe as you strut by. Yet, none of these can compare to wisdom.

We need to be careful what we seek in life. The things that seem most attractive may be things that fade away with time, or even lose value.  “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12 NLT