Saturday, September 5, 2015

Proverbs 1:15: Choices—verbs, action—Walk and Keep

My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path. Proverbs 1:15 (NKJV)
walk: go, depart, proceed
the way: of moral action and character, in the bad sense
keep: withhold, hold back (imperative—strong advise!)
path: of moral action, and character (absolute—referring to action)

After reading Proverbs 1:11-14 and the choices that the sinners were making (killing, stealing) once again, we are warned DO NOT proceed down this path. Don't do it! 

Choices. There are two Verbs this verse which give sound advice: Walk and Keep. Walk is proceeded by DO NOT and Keep is written as very strong advice! These verbs are flashing in NEON signs; they are blinking stop signs. 

Often we get caught up in the here and now, and can't see what lies ahead. Right now it's fun and the excitement of the group has drawn us in. However, we are warned of what lies ahead. And we are given STRONG advice—don't even start down this path. Do not go or proceed any further in this direction! Hold back from going with them down this path of sin. 

How often do I ignore the flashing stop sign signals God puts before me? How often do I try to justify and rationalize my choice for following a group? How often do I ignore sound advice and go it on my own? 

Only when my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), will I be able to hear the advice, and willing to follow the advice. Choices—verbs, action—Walk and Keep. Which will I choose? 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Proverbs 1:11-14: Companionship

If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 1et us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down to the Pit; we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse”— Proverbs 1:11-14
with us: companionship, together with
lie in wait: actually, ambush. 
shed blood: blood in quantity, hence sometimes of blood shed by rude violence, and of blood-stains
Lurk: hidden
innocent: free from guilt, clean,

swallow: engulf, of violence, extortion
Sheol: underworld (place to which people descend at death)
whole: sound healthful
Pit: pit of the grave

Find: secure prey, booty, plunder
Precious: costly
Possessions: wealth
Spoil: plunder

Cast: share with us
Lot: cast thy fortune into the midst of us, in with us
One: combine 
Purse: money

"Let us kill anyone in our way, and steal anything we want. We will then share all that we steal." Sounds much like a description of what is happening across our Nation. No regard for human life. No regard for laws. No respect. Pure lawlessness. 

It's vital that we know who we have a companionship with BEFORE they entice us into sin. In many relationships we see the "end result" of the PRIZE—money, riches, fame, etc—and that clouds our judgment. We ignore how the "Prize" was obtained. That end result skews our judgment and make us disregard our morals. 

"If they say"—in order to hear them, I must be in their company. And that is a bad location! Psalm 1:1: 
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful."
If my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), I will not feel comfortable in the companionship of sinners, much less want to hear them as they work to entice me to follow in their sinful ways. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Proverbs 1:10: No means NO!

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. Proverbs 1:10 (NKJV)
Sinners: reckoned as offenders (against God)
Entice: persuade, seduce
Not: expressing a deprecation or prohibition: deny
Consent: desire, be willing 

As I read this verse, I had to think of how easy it is to be enticed. Lately a catching tune caught my ear, and as with many of the popular songs, I had NO idea what the words actually were. So, I googled the song lyrics. I was shocked. The tune enticed me to listen and although I did not understand the words, the correct and very ungodly words were filling my mind. 
I had to stop and evaluate—why I would be willing to listen to such a song? I read this quote the other day: 
"Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone - deep, non-hypocritical integrity." Chuck Swindoll
What opinion of me did people have, when they heard me listening to that song—especially if they knew the lyrics! Not only, that the song does not fit the criteria for what should be entering my thoughts. 
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever thingsare lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there isanything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8
Satan makes sin very pleasing and seem very good. However, the consequence of sin can be deadly. 

Do not consent—there is a strong will and desire that one does NOT consent. A pleading to withstand the enticement. Notice that sinners will entice. But in wisdom, we are warned... DO NOT DO IT! 

Don't do it. Period. No, try it to see what happens. No justification. No rationalization. Simply—Deny it. NO, means NO! 

How do I continue to withstand the enticement of sin? It begins with a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For when my heart is in tune with God Almighty, I will be more aware of the enticement and be able to say "no".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Proverbs 1:8, 9: Did you hear me?

My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck. Proverbs 1:8, 9 (NKJV)

My son: as term of kindliness or endearment
Hear: to heed, pay attention to, take to heart
Instruction: discipline in the school of wisdom, correction
Father: father of individual instructing
Do not forsake: abandon
Law: instruction 
Mother: as rightfully claiming honour, authority,
Graceful: favor, grace, of form and appearance
Ornament: something attached, a wreath, 
Chains: necklace, neck-pendant

"Did you hear me?" 
How often growing up did we hear that phrase? Often because we didn't do something we were told to do! Hearing and hearing and paying attention, are really two different things! 
There are sometimes that we act quickly when we hear something—"Dinner is ready!" lol Yet, often when we hear instruction or correction, or something we do not care to hear, we ignore it, or try to rationalize our lack of action. 

On simple terms, remember when as a kid, you were told to clean your room, but you were busy watching TV? In your mind, you figured that you'd wait until AFTER the TV program was over. But your parents meant.. right now, not later. 

When that same "delay" concept is applied to godly instruction, the consequences can be greater than just delaying cleaning your room. When we hear and learn godly instruction, discipline and take it to heart—action is to begin immediately. 

When one hears the correction and instruction given and then makes it their own, their inward and outward appearance is that of grace and beauty. And to be ready to receive instruction and act in accordance with the instruction, one must have a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Proverbs 1:7: Knowing with Action

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

Fear: fear of God, reverence, piety
Beginning: first phase, step, or element in course of events
Knowledge: in highest sense, knowledge of God (including obedience)
Fools: (always morally bad), who despises wisdom & discipline
Despise: despise, show despite toward (Wisdom Literature & poetry) 
Wisdom: ethical and religious
Instruction:  discipline (of the moral nature), chastening, correction

If wisdom is the goal, the only way to achieve it, is to START at the BEGINNING—the very first step is to FEAR GOD. Having a reverence for who God is, what He can do, and what He does do—is the foundation on which to build wisdom. 

Why is it so important to begin with the "fear of God"? Because God is the source of all wisdom. He is all-knowing, omniscient. God is the standard by which everything is judged. Morally, Spiritually, and Ethically. 

Notice that this knowledge is not just "head knowledge", but INCLUDES obedience! That is key. Just because you KNOW may make you seem smart, but unless there is obedience that follows you are actually a fool. For knowing and knowing with action are two different things. Knowing that the stove it hot is smart. NOT touching the stove, because you KNOW the stove is hot, is wisdom. 

Can one have wisdom and still be a fool? I think, the answer is "yes". One day I may have a reverence for God and act in obedience to His will and wisdom, but the next day, sadly, I may decide to do it "Rhonda's way". And each time I do, I am acting as a fool. 
But thankfully, God is gracious and merciful and allows forgives me of my foolishness and begins to teach me again so that I can grow in wisdom. 

Having a heart permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG) is NOT done by just saying that I fear God. Fearing God must translate into obedience.  Wisdom is knowing with action—and the first action is Fearing God! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Proverbs 1:6: Understand the Words of the Wise

To understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. Proverbs 1:6
The verb "to Understand" means be intelligent, discreet, discerning, perceive, have understanding.

Proverb: sentences of ethical wisdom
Enigma: satire, a mocking poem
Words: saying, utterance, sentence, as a section of a discourse
Wise: principles and collections of wisdom
Riddles: allegorical and figurative sayings, perplexing saying or question

Know. Receive. Give. Hear. Increase Learning. Attain. All results in Understanding. 

Proverbs 1:2-6 (NKJV)
2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
4 To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles.

In Proverbs 1:6, notice whose words you are to understand—The WISE. That is key. For if one listens to the unwise or fools, that will lead to—destruction (Proverbs 1:32). 

How does one differentiate from wise and fools; for often the fools speak with "flowering words" or words that sound wonderful. First of all, one must develop a heart with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). That opens the heart to knowing, receiving, hearing, increasing in learning, and attaining. And that leads to fearing the Lord (Proverbs 1:7), but that verse will study next time.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Proverbs 1:5: Hear, Increase and Attain.

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV)
The VERBS in Proverbs 1:5 are Hear, Increase and Attain. 

Hear: hear with attention, interest, listen to
Increase: add strength = grow stronger; be joined, added to
Attain: acquire, procure, get

A WISE man (wise, ethically and religiously) — as a wise learner in school of wisdom hears and increases in learning.

So in order to be WISE, I must hear with attention and interest. Not let the information go in one ear and out the other. PAY ATTENTION to what is being taught. 
I must increase, add and grow, in learning (as personal acquirement; concrete, what is received). PERSONAL acquirement. I have to receive it and make it mine. Concrete it becomes solid, and that provides a good foundation to build upon. 

Man of understanding — be intelligent, discreet, discerning (Proverbs 1:2). In order to be intelligent I must ATTAIN—get, acquire wise counsel. Wise Counsel: "Originally of rope-pulling, i.e. steering, directing a ship." With wise counsel direction is given and you are steered in the right path. 

Hear. Increase. Attain. Each of these verbs are specific to growing in wisdom. I must first be willing to HEAR—with interest—and then INCREASE learning—receive it make it mine to build a strong foundation—and then I'll be willing to  ATTAIN wise counsel—following the direction of godly advice. 

Yet none of those actions will be possible if my heart is not permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). For unless my heart is soft and pliable I will not be willing to hear, increase, or attain.