Tag Archives: proverbs

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.

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True Value

Proverbs 3:15

“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

More Precious Than Rubies

On 7 November 2000 a gang of criminals used a JCB excavator to ram their way into the vault area of the Millennium Dome in London. Their target was the De Beers diamond exhibition where the Millennium Star diamond valued at more than £200 million ($320 million) was one of several precious stones on view. Unfortunately for the gang they had been under police surveillance for some considerable time. The diamonds were substituted with worthless fakes prior to the robbery. On the day that the gang struck, the Millennium Dome was awash with undercover police officers. All the gang members were arrested, including one manning a powerboat on the River Thames, which was to have been the getaway vehicle.

The Value of Wisdom

The Millennium Dome gang were distinctly lacking in wisdom. Instead, folly driven by greed led them in an attempt to steal a diamond that would have been impossible to trade for cash.

What price wisdom? Solomon knew, and attempted to portray the priceless nature of wisdom in Proverbs 3:15. All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. The message is that wisdom is to be valued above anything and everything this world can offer. But wisdom is not found on display behind armored glass. It cannot be bought, but is a treasure that has to be sought over time.

The word used by Solomon for rubies also translates as pearls. Jesus used a priceless pearl to illustrate a parable in Matthew 13:45-46:

 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

What do you value more than anything?


Trust the Guide

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

My Dad

Unlike me, my dad was brought up in a rough and tough home. At the age of 14, for his birthday, he received his first moonshine still. In high school he was one of the “protectors” who protected for a fee. Up until he met my mother in the middle 1960’s he was still running white lightning through the hills of Tennessee and building drag cars.

As a high school senior my dad benched 300 lbs.; ran track; threw shot put; was the state heavyweight wrestling champion; loved to fight; and could drink away a paycheck. But just a few years later, on the living room floor of my mother’s house, he gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and nothing stayed the same.

My Dad’s Guidance

My father was a wise man, but make no mistake about it, he earned his wisdom the hard way. And I did my best to follow his instruction, because I figured he knew what he was talking about. He had seen and done a lot, and he had the scars to prove it.

One day he told me, “Son, sin is fun. Alcohol tastes good. The devil has a lot to offer. But let me tell you, when you have friends bleed to death in your arms you’ll realize sin ain’t worth the price.” Spoken like the humble preacher he was.

When I got old enough to run wild, I didn’t. When I could drive, I drove safely. When I dated, I saved myself for marriage. Was I perfect? Absolutely not! But every time I came close to messing up I would remember my dad, his words, and his example. That remembrance helped direct my path.

Solomon’s Dad

Solomon had a father, also. His name was King David, and he also knew the cost of sin, the feeling of spilled blood.

God gave Solomon wisdom, but some of it came through the words of David, Solomon’s rough and tough dad. I wonder if the above verses were based on the following advice given years earlier?

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. – 1Chronicals 28:9 NKJV

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. – Psalm 37:3-5 KJV

Solomon surely took his father’s words to heart. Our Father asks us to do the same.

A Prayer

Lord God, I am so tempted to do things my way. I am tempted so often to trust my own feelings, to follow my heart. Help me, Lord, to acknowledge that you have traveled this way before. Help me to listen and pay attention as you guide me through the curves of life, making them as good as straight.

Related Link: “First Post” – A tribute to my father, Rev. Terry L. Baker.


That Makes Three, Now What?

It may be hard to believe, but we have just now completed three tours through the book of Proverbs!

Our very first post was back on April 1, 2012. It took a little over 2 years to complete the first run, then about the same amount of time to complete a rerun of the series.

Now we have completed another 31-week abridged version and I’ve still not finished providing easy-to-locate links to the first posts under the tabs above! I apologize.

But where do we go from here?

This time around I did not contribute as much as I would have liked. Frankly, Daniel, Dawn, and Michael have pretty much done this all on their own. And what a great job they did!

The depths of God’s wisdom can never be fully plumbed; therefore, if we started all over from the beginning and did a brand new 2-year run through the over 700 proverbs in Proverbs, we’d still be bringing up new treasure.

But what say ye?

How many regular readers of this blog would like to see it continue with fresh material? Or, would you still keep coming back if we re-posted what has already been written each day?

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below, or you can give me a call at 423-645-8884. Or, if you prefer, email me at PastorACBaker@yahoo.com.

God bless!

Anthony


Not just what, but why?

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Human beings sure are smart! 

Bob and I went over to the church to see if we could help our assistant pastor and some friends who were busting up the concrete getting ready to put in a new parking area by the daycare center.  Kevin, who is also a farmer, had brought in his own Bobcat and was adroitly ripping up the ground and dumping it into the truck.  Bob and I are always so impressed by this guy’s expertise in all things concerning the practical working of dirt.

I’m also pretty amazed at how people invented and manufactured the Bobcat.  Or the concrete it busts up for that matter!  Or how about Apollo 13?  A popular movie from years ago, I just admire at the ingenuity of bringing them back home safely—with slide rules. Continue reading


More Boldness Needed

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. – Proverbs 28:1

One of the most impressive scenes in the New Testament is found in the second chapter of Acts, beginning with verse 14. There we see Peter and the others – but mainly Peter – boldly standing in front of the very crowd that had previously crucified Jesus saying:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” – Acts 2:36 CSB

If that wasn’t boldness, I don’t know what is!

Think about it! At a time when the Church was barely more than 200 strong (yes, just 200), and not long after they were hiding out in fear, the disciples of Jesus were now throwing caution to the wind as they openly declared Jesus to be the risen Lord.

Nowadays we have multiple millions who claim the name of Christ, many of them with no fear of ever getting a slap on the wrist for expressing their faith – if and when they ever decided to show it. Yet, when the ENTIRE WORLD was in a position to obliterate all the followers of “the Way” in one strike, they came out with a message that was anything but “seeker-friendly” or Joel Osteen-ish.

They essentially said, “You did it. You were wrong. He lives. Repent.”

Where are Christians like that, today? What would happen … if only 200 did what they did … a hundred thousand followers of Christ would stand boldly in the public square and tell the truth about sin and salvation?

Powerless, lukewarm, sin-flirting, self-centered kittens may find it easy to endure the needles that inject woke platitudes and creatively-vague Christian symbols under their skin, but they cower in the dark rooms of expediency and tolerance flee from the fiery darts of the Enemy.

The righteous, on the other hand, stand boldly in the power of the Holy Ghost, raise their shields of faith, and unsheathe a Weapon that “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).

We need more boldness! More lions…fewer kittens.


Thank you, Duolingo

international-2684767_1920I’m learning Swedish.  Slowly.  I have a working vocabulary of, I dunno, 70 words?  Our second granddaughter is 50% Swedish (our son-in-law is 100%), and they live about an hour outside of Stockholm. 

Now, when my son-in-law heard of my little project, he informed me that only 10 million people on the globe speak his language, as compared with the 1.5 billion that speak some form of English, his point being that it wasn’t necessarily practical to learn his native tongue.

Since when does a grandmother need to be practical?? Continue reading