Tag Archives: New International Version

Reduced to Nothing

Proverbs 6:26

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

I started attending church at the age of 15, and I was given an NIV Bible. The NIV puts this verse this way:

for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

For a while it confused me, because I read it as “the prostitute gradually turns you into a loaf of bread.” Before I saw another translation, I figured it out!

Broke and Worthless

As has been discussed for the past several days, the lure of the prostitute and foolishness leads to bad things. Not only is it dangerous because of diseases you might receive, you can find yourself practically penniless from spending so much on this habit. Not only might you lose all of your money, you may find your health in decline.

Do you know what happens to you when you can barely afford to buy a loaf of bread? You starve and either die or debase yourself publicly to get by.

You could also get caught doing something illegal (which prostitution is in most areas), and then you find you are in jail/prison.

Broken and Lost

On a purely spiritual level, beware of false preachers and teachers; beware of twisted and false teachings.

Prosperity gospel-, “Name-It-and-Claim-It”-, and Personality-centered messages/churches generally convince you to spend all of your money and/or give all of your money to the one speaking.

There are churches, denominations, and other organizations with teachings that sound great and biblical; yet, if you pay attention, you would find they are taken out of context (biblically and/or spiritually … there can be a difference) or, worse, twisted to serve an ungodly purpose.

If you do not end up broke and worthless in this life, the ultimate result may very well be that you have lost everlasting life.

Do not give your soul – your life – to another. Steer clear of the prostitutes, on the streets or in religion, by knowing the dangers they pose. Seek God and His path in all things.

Dear Lord, help us to stay away from the allure of the prostitute and adulteress. Help us keep our hearts, minds, and souls safe and pure. Reveal your love and grace to us all the more, that anything and anyone else is not as desirable.

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A Wicked Heart

Proverbs 6:18a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…”

Personal Wickedness

When I was younger, way back in high school and before going to church, I heard stories of fantastic crimes, near-perfect crimes, and comic book villians. It inspired me to devise all manner of crimes (sneaking a candy bar from the store, sneaking small amounts of change from my mom’s purse, sneaking a can or two of soda pop from my teacher’s stash under his desk, etcetera) to test my mettle and intelligence.

Hollywood Wickedness

Movies seem to have caught that itch, as well. War movies to come out of Hollywood used to hide much of the true horror of battles. In the past few decades war movies have gotten progressively more gory, and now we also have movies such as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and all manner of violently gory horror and action films.

There is also a rise in movies in which the villain is the “hero” of the movie. They are written in such a way that we, the audience, sympathize with and even cheer for people committing crimes and being all-around bad (though sometimes with endearing moments).

We were warned … a lot …

Paul warned Timothy, and therefore us, that this would happen:

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, NIV

In other words, society will decide to do their own thing and call good things bad and bad things good, and we will glorify sin and desire all things ungodly (sound at all familiar to anyone?).

And we were warned in Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Lord, give us the wisdom to see past deception and a desire for truth and goodness. Help us to not focus on our own desires, selfishness, and violence. Help us to focus on Your will, Your love, Your grace, and You. Be our light and our life.


Making Plans

Proverbs 6:6-8

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

In this world …

As Anthony pointed out yesterday, there is a lot of practical advice for everyday life found in Proverbs.

My wife and I work in schools. This means we have summers off from work. We have a couple of options when the summer comes:

  1. One or both of us can find summer jobs to cover expenses.
  2. We can set aside some of each paycheck to help cover expenses for the two to three months we do not work.

Especially with all of the economic concerns in our world today, it is a good idea to save up the money needed in case a summer job cannot be found. Doing this, however, requires discipline and a plan. It is not always easy to remember or even want to set money aside.

There are unexpected expenses that arise. A friend might call and say it is a great day to go out and do something. That new phone/car/movie might come out that everyone (including you and me) just has to have. These can make saving money hard, but we can learn from our friend the ant how wise it is to plan and implement those plans well.

In the next …

This passage is also a good reminder of what comes after this life. There are many who plan on waiting until the last moment of life to make any meaningful change in their lives and/or to follow God.

One problem with this is that we never know when we might die. A few are able to know their end is near and can make a conscious change, but most people are caught unaware through accidents, violence, wars, and sudden terminal illnesses.

The next problem is that we never know when Christ will return. He even warned us:

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 25:1-13

Showing discipline and actively preparing for whatever may come not only helps us in this life, it prepares us for the next.

Loving Lord, grant us the patience and discipline we need to have full and wise lives. Grant us the wisdom to prepare for unforseen circumstances as well as expected, and help is remain faithful until Your return!


Pay Attention!

Proverbs 5:1-2

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”

Many parents have tried for just about ever to get through to their children. If our  attention begins to wander, they would yell at us “Pay attention!” If we started doing things against their wishes, we might hear them announce “Listen to me!” If we mouthed off to them, they would scold “Watch your mouth!” Solomon is doing basically the same thing.

PAY ATTENTION!

This passage essentially starts with Solomon saying, “Pay attention to the wisdom I have shared with you!” He knows how easily we can be distracted by the pretty, fun, and new things in this world. He sternly warns his son (and God, therefore, warns us) to pay attention to wisdom of those who have come before.

Listen to me!

He continues, “Listen to what I have learned.” If only Solomon’s children had listened to him! It was the actions of his children which led to the split in the Kingdom of Israel.

God calls us to listen to His word and His people. There is wisdom and experience there. All we have to do is listen (and act on what we hear). We can know how to interact with God and others.

Watch your mouth!

“This way you will know when to bite your tongue and when to speak.” James told us, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (James 3:2, NIV) With the wisdom of God and the understanding gained from those with experience, we can learn when and how to control what we say and how we act.

The most perfect example, naturally, was our Lord Jesus Christ. He always seemed to have just the right thing to say, but he also knew when to be silent, such as when on trial for His life (Matthew 26:57-68).

The Perfect Man

Has has been said time and again on this blog and through Proverbs, seek wisdom and understanding. This is achieved through knowing Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man who makes all things perfect in His time.

Allow Him to make you perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Listen to your teachers, pastors, and other church leaders. Read your Bible. Pray to God daily, every moment as you are able. Allow His love and grace to change you, to move through you and into others. Seek true wisdom and understanding with every fiber of your being.

Abba, Father, Lord, Savior, and Friend, give us You and grow that passion for You, that we may know You, Your wisdom and understanding, and love. Grow in us a passion to show that love, and give us the wisdom to know when and how to share it the most effectively.


Stay On Track

Proverbs 4:27

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago and Walk in the Word Ministries uses a theme song for his radio broadcasts. The lyrics are:

To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go.
To the left or the right, o-o-oh, I will not go, I will not go.
Walk, walk in the word. Walk in the word.
Walk, walk in the word.
This is the way!

As David mentioned yesterday, we need to focus on the path before us. To turn to the left or the right from the path we have been shown is to step into the ways of unrighteousness, wickedness, and evil. Fortunately, Solomon continues his advice by instructing us to “remove thy foot from evil.”

GET BACK ON TRACK!

Jesus warned us,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

What is the most sure way of seeing, staying on, and getting back to the path of righteousness?

As James MacDonald’s ministry says, “Walk in the Word.” We need to read God’s word, know it, and live it.

This combined with daily prayer and meeting with other Christians strengthens our understanding and resolve to stay on the path.

Do not turn from God and His path. Stay focused on our Lord.

Lord Jesus, strengthen our resolve to not stray off the path. Broaden our understanding of Your will for our lives. Give us Your wisdom and the desire to stay on the path of righteousness.


Watch Your Mouth

Proverbs 4:24

“Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
The Old Days

There used to be a day, when I was young, that foul language was not permitted in polite company. I remember going to see a movie with my parents, and right in the middle of the film we got up and left the theater. My parents were not going to sit through a bunch of “cuss’n.”

Back in the old days, before MTV and Southpark, it was not unheard of to punish a child who used “perverse” language. Now, it is not uncommon to hear small children curse like sailors. It used to be acceptable to wash a child’s mouth out with soap; but not anymore. Today’s children, not to mention the average TV show or movie, are accustomed to vulgarity.

Not Cuss’n

But this verse is not really addressing the use of four, six, or ten-letter words. Solomon is speaking here of something a little different. Oh, I’m sure this proverb could also be applied to the folly of foul language; but there is more to this verse than that.

If we take a look at the word “froward” in this verse, it means to be “distorted, or crooked” (Strong’s H6143). More than just advising his children to watch their language, Solomon was telling them that a wise man will speak straight, and not twist words to his own advantage.

Lies

If we were to dig down below the surface of this verse, I believe at the foundation we would find the command, “Thou shalt not lie.” And what is a distortion of the truth, but a lie?

It is so easy to lie when we get into trouble. It is also tempting to distort the truth (which is lying) for our own benefit. However, a wise man is one who understands there will always be consequences for lying; maybe not in this life, but eternity.

Used Cars

Several years ago there was a movie called Flywheel. In a nutshell it was about a used car salesman who realized God was not pleased with his gimmicks and half-truths. When he got his heart right, he put the “froward mouth” and “perverse lips far from [him].” In contrast he became a man of integrity whom people could trust.

You may not be a crooked used car salesman, but when was the last time you bent the truth? Was it when you tried to get out of that speeding ticket? Was it when you said that lunch was tax-deductible, when it wasn’t? Was it when you were late, but the right excuse would let you get by?

A wise man understands that there will come a day of reckoning. He understands that men will have to give an account for every idle word in the day of judgment (Matt. 12:36).

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. – James 1:26 NIV


Couch Talk

Proverbs 3:31-32

“Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”

Preface

Let me preface what I am about to write by saying that it is pleasure to study verses of Scripture which would normally be overlooked in casual reading. When I first selected this passage, I only did so based on the calendar. Only when it came time to write did it become clear there was much more to these verses that met the eye.

I can only scratch the surface, today. However, I would challenge each reader, as with the other texts, to study them for yourself. The greatest riches of heaven are not usually handed over, they are wrestled from the Word. Dig, my friends, and you will be amazed at what you find.

The Oppressor

Solomon recognized that there is always the temptation to envy those in power. If honest, few would deny that they, at some point, secretly wished they could be ruler of the world. And in most cases, the wish would not be to become the most benevolent ruler in history, but a dictator.

But we should ask ourselves, what is it about the “oppressor” that we want? Power? Influence? Riches? Fame? The ability to manipulate others in order to have things our way? Why would anyone who seeks God’s will want those things?

Froward

The “froward” man could also be called “wicked” (NLT), “devious” (ESV), or “perverse” (NIV). The word here describes a man who turns away from God to do his own thing. This type of man, the oppressor, or “man of violence” (ESV), the Lord abhors. Again, why would a God-follower want to be like him?

Do you want to be happy? “Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful,” says King David (Psalm 1:1). Don’t choose the ways of the oppressor if you want to experience joy and peace.

What is it, then, that Solomon offers as an option? What can the righteous experience that the wicked cannot?

His Secret

The word translated “secret” (verse 32) comes from a word that means a couch cushion, or a triclinium (see Gesenius’s Lexicon). What is that, you ask? A triclinium was a three-sided couch on which the Greeks and Romans reclined when sharing a meal, or conducting casual conversation. It was a place symbolic of friendship, family, and intimacy. God is sickened by the perverse man, but the righteous is accepted at His personal table.

Don’t be like the man who turns from God; but be like the man who runs to Him. The result may not be the aquisition of wealth, power, and fame; but something far, far more valuable: secret, private communion with the Lord. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty” – Psalm 91:1

What on earth could compare to hearing God say, “Come here, son, recline next to me. I want to share some things with you; things meant only for you, and no one else.” The “righteous” have that privilege, not the “oppressor.”

Dear Lord, keep me focused on you, not the things of others. I long to hear you speak in a still, small voice, “Come close, my child, I have a secret for you.” Cover me in the shadow of your wings.