The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:9-10

This scripture is so clear and simple that I can’t justify keeping you very long. But there might be a few nuances which perhaps you haven’t considered before. And every scripture is worth considering from time to time. As you probably know I am not much of a poet. In school, one or two teachers tried to get me to write poetry, but they weren’t successful – or I wasn’t. I can enjoy some poetry, but usually it has to be of the simple variety. Despite my ignorance, once in a while I can still recognize or appreciate a good poem. And I have been taught a little bit about Hebrew poetry. Parts of the Old Testament are filled with poetry. We might expect to find it in the Psalms, but it’s also in the prophets and here in Proverbs. Many, if not most of the Proverbs are repetitive couplets as I hope you will come to see. But keep in mind that poetry doesn’t always have to rhyme, and it doesn’t have to have obvious rhythm. My Bible denotes verses 5 to 10 as a paragraph, but it might be considered a three-part poem as well. Part one – Trust, lean and acknowledge, and the Lord shall direct thy paths. Part two – Cast down your pride, fear the Lord and depart from evil, and you will be a healthy soul. Then here in verses 9 and 10 – Honour the Lord with your substance and first fruits, and you will be blessed. Each section gives us a godly recommendation followed by a blessed result. Why is it...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:7-8

You are an intelligent grown-up. What do you do to maintain your health? Perhaps you try to eat proper foods – vegetables, fruits, a few grains and the proper proteins. And you have learned to avoid foods which are bad for you. There are the usual things of which we are told not to over-indulge. And then there are those foods which are a problem for you personally – dairy products, sweets, etc. And perhaps to make sure you are getting what you need, you take vitamins and special minerals. You try to get enough exercise – the right kind of exercise. You also have learned to get regular medical check-ups – dental, vision, cardiovascular. But of course, your primary source for good health is your trust in the Lord. Only He, who created the heart, can guarantee that your heart stays heathy. And even perfect physical health can be cut short by a car accident. We depend on Jehovah to keeps us safe and healthy. But of course, He still wants us to do our part – eat properly and take care of the body He has given us. Why is it that we should consult the medical experts when it appears that we have a problem? Isn’t it because we don’t know all the potential diseases which can afflict the human race? We may know our own body to some degree, but we may not know the symptoms of Lyme disease. And not only are we not smart enough, but sometimes we aren’t honest enough to maintain our health. We may deliberately mis-diagnose our tummy ache, denying...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:5-6

Several of us here tonight have poor eyesight – some would even say “bad eyesight.” So even though I will be using myself as an example, you know that I could be using some of you. My eyesight is bad. My lens prescription is up there in the hundreds – 750 and 850 whatever that means. Also, I have had some retinal problems and the vitreous fluid inside my eyes are filled with floaters which I have to either try to look around or try to ignore. Then too, there is at least one early-stage cataract which tends to blur or fog everything. The first thing I have to do every morning is reach for my glasses. If they somehow got bumped or moved during the night, I have problems, because I can’t see well-enough to find my glasses. A few years ago, I was working in some bushes at dad’s house and a branch knocked off my glasses. I had to almost crawl back to the house, and call for Judy to come find my spectacles. Without my glasses I can see shapes if they are large enough, and I can see colors. But without my glasses, objects must be closer than 4 inches before they become clear. Please understand that I am not complaining; I’m stating facts, which I would like to use as an illustration. In the two verses before us, Solomon exhorts us to two things: Trust in the Lord and in all our ways to acknowledge Him. He also qualifies or limits that trust, and he explains one of the great blessings of acknowledging...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:1-4

It no longer surprises me, but it always excites me, when God blends or links things together in my ministry. When the hymns selected by another person illustrate my message – as several did Sunday morning. Or as in this case, when the message Sunday night meshes with the next scripture in an ongoing series. A part of my theme Sunday was that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Here Solomon, as led by the Holy Spirit tells us how that we, like Jesus, can “find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man” – verse 4. As Solomon exhorts his son, the Lord exhorts all of His children – we who have been adopted into His family… “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.” As I say, Solomon was led of the Holy Spirit when he wrote these words. Jehovah through the Spirit says to us all, “Children, forget not my law and my commandments.” But let’s lay that aside for the moment and remember that we all live under our own system of laws. You might never steal; you are never tempted to shop-lift – ah, but you might lie when circumstances demand, as we see in the life of Peter. You would never consider adultery or fornication, but to lust or internally covet is another matter. You would never blaspheme, but to ignore or make light of the preaching of the Word, you might. We all have our own standards and laws, but Solomon was speaking of GOD’S laws and...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 2:10-22

If we wanted to read these verses from only a logical & secular point of view, they would make perfect sense. It is not smart to fall into the hands of the drug dealer, who sells or experiments in out of the body ecstasies. And the young fool who falls victim to the prostitute, does not consider that her house inclineth unto death. The evil man and the strange woman are usually dealing additional problems, all of which would destroy their young prey. But if we take the “wisdom” of verse 10 to the purpose intended by the Holy Spirit, we are forced to look at the evil man and the strange woman from a more spiritual perspective. If we understand that “wisdom” is a personification of the person of Christ, then these verses become an illustration of the effects of the gospel. Sure the physical effects are the same in the preservation of the saint of God possessed by this “wisdom.” But there are eternal and spiritual effects as well. “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.” Perhaps this scripture would be more appropriate for a Sunday morning gospel message than a devotional for prayer meeting, but the Lord is in control of every church service. Let’s begin again with the entrance of wisdom. “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.” When the Math teacher tries to help us understand algebra or trigonometry, what part...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 2:1-9

Let’s say that I wanted to drive from Post Falls to Lemberg, Saskatchewan. Yes, Lemberg is a very real, tiny community in central Saskatchewan. It is northeast of Regina about 50 miles. If I was as talented as John Bunyan, I would make this trip into an allegory. I would cleverly tell you that “Lemberg” is the Canadian equivalent of “Celestial,” but I am afraid not even Bunyan was that skilled. I simply want to drive to Lemberg. Want sort of things should I do, or what things would I have to do, to get there? First, I’d have to have a reason to go. At the last census, the population of Lemberg was only 274. There is no sense traveling that far to visit a place which has nothing of interest for me. I should try to determine the best route to get to Lemberg – there might be a dozen highways to take. Then it might be wise to see if the route I’ve chosen is in good condition. Since I’d be crossing into Canada, I better check that my passport is in order and that the port of entry will be open when I hope to cross. Lemberg is a long way off, it would be good to make a reservation for a motel or some other resting place. Oh, and I had better check to see that my car is in good shape – that it is running well, because 1042 miles is a long way to walk. And it will take money for food, gas and lodging along the way. Along with a dozen...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:24-33

When I was in junior high school, my parents had never heard of home-schooling. It was even long before there was such a thing as middle school – it was junior high, grades 7-9. My family had two basic choices or if they did– Public School or Catholic School. They chose public. By the time I finished my education there were a few Christian schools popping up, but my parents probably didn’t know they existed, and if they did, they didn’t care. There was, however, another kind of school, but no ordinary parent considered it as an option. This third variety of school no longer exists – at least not under the name by which we knew it at the time. So at about the age of thirteen, off went a hundred kids into junior high. Ostensibly, we were there for an education. Our teachers were supposed to be “wisdom” and ‘knowledge.” They weren’t out crying in the streets, but rather in the chief place of youthful concourse – Northglenn Junior High. Our teachers politely asked, “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and you scorners delight in your scorning, and you fools hate knowledge?” “How can you be satisfied with D’s and F’s; how can you be pleased with mere C’s?” This was in the early 1960s when there were grades and standards. In my school even grading on a curve was somewhat new and most of my friends didn’t like it. Out of those hundred kids in junior high, by the time we reached10th grade, there weren’t quite as many. Of course there were our...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:20-23

Of these two, which is more valuable: paper money or gold? Of these two which is more valuable: gold or food? Friends or fame? How about yesterday or tomorrow? Today or eternity? Here is an easy one – stupidity or knowledge? I know the average person would disagree, but the wise man, Solomon, suggests that “wisdom” is perhaps the most valuable thing we might ever possess. “Wisdom” is the means to a wonderful eternity, to peace, to the prosperity which gold cannot provide. Let’s start tonight by reconsidering this wisdom. Some suggest this refers to an aspect of the character of Jehovah – “wisdom” is one of His attributes. While that is true, I prefer the suggestions of a larger group of Bible students – THIS wisdom is Christ. In Luke 11, one of the scribes was trying to argue with the Lord Jesus. Jesus replied, “Woe unto ye lawyers” and He mentioned various reasons. Then He said, “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.” Who was it that commissioned the prophets of God? The answer has to be God, of course, but more specifically Christ. And then we have I Corinthians 1 – “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” I know that Solomon has already introduced us, but he gives us a bit more information...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:10-19

In 1829, Mary Howitt published a little poem which eventually became an often misquoted a classic. “Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, “‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; The way into my parlour is up a winding stair, And I’ve a many curious things to show when you are there.” “Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain, For who goes up your winding stair – can ne’er come down again.” Solomon’s children, like children everywhere, eventually left home. They left the protection of their parents, and they began to make decisions entirely on their own. Let’s say that Solomon tried his best to raise his children in “the fear and admonition of the Lord.” “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” Eventually, wearing the finest apparel and ornaments their parents could provide they walked out the front door of their childhood homes. Some were prodigals; some were Josephs; some were Ruths. But they were on their own with only their parents’ instructions echoing in their hearts. Perhaps one of the last they heard was, “My child, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Every beautiful, little Blue Bottle fly has its own predatorial spider. Every son has a sinner who wants to entice him into his web – perhaps hundreds of them. It is not as common here as it is in other parts of America, but most...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 1:7-9

A good sermon usually begins with an introduction of some sort. It might be an ear-catching illustration designed to hook the attention of the audience for a while. It might be a reiteration of what has been recently taught, building on that earlier foundation. Or it might be a simple preface, outlining where the message hopes to go. Verses 1-6 make up Solomon’s preface for the rest of the Book of Proverbs. He says, “The following proverbs are presented that you might know wisdom and instruction. With that wisdom and instruction it is hoped that you will be able to understand justice, judgment and equity. I would like to give subtilty to the simple and discretion to the young person. But please understand even the aged wise man will hear and increase in learning and wise counsel.” Solomon then takes a hammer, driving in the nail upon which the portrait of this book is to be hung. The nail is – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The wire which ties the portrait to that nail; which supports it; levels it, and hides behind it reads… “But fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” I often use to a 350 page book called “Spurgeon’s Proverbs and Sayings” quoting it in the bulletin. I guarantee that it was not prepared...

The Proverbs of Solomon – 1:1-6

I have been thinking about a study of Proverbs for several years. But its enormity and probable tedium deterred; I just didn’t feel the Lord’s leadership in it. Well, I’ve looked at it again, and feel that it’s the Lord’s will that at least tonight we look at the first verses. In beginning, consider verse 5 – “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.” Don’t most people have different definitions of wisdom and the wise man than what this expresses? Many think of the wise man as someone who has attained – who has reached some predetermined level of knowledge, learning to apply it well. But doesn’t this verse suggest that the wise man is someone who recognizes he still has a long way to go? “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning.” Isn’t this idea corroborated by Paul in Philippians – “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”? As a general rule, beware of the man who claims to have attained the status of the wise and has so apprehended the truth that he doesn’t need to consider anything new. In thinking about a study of Proverbs, there might be several avenues to follow. We could dig deeply into the Massoretic text, rooting out the nuances of the important Hebrew words. That could begin a study lasting well into the Millennium. It might be a...

The Trap Mis-Sprung – John 8:1-11

Have you ever tried to set a mouse trap, only to have it spring before you were ready? Maybe it was when you were latching it, or as you were putting it down in a tight corner. Pow! It snapped at you, and perhaps even bit your finger. No wonder people have been looking for the better mouse trap all these years. In this scripture, the enemies of our Saviour were trying to entrap Him. They had made crude attempts before, by asking Jesus various theological questions. And every time, His answer was better than the questions themselves. But this time they thought that they had come up with the better mouse trap. This one was fool proof; not even they could mis-manage this one. There were just two possible answers, and either one could be turned to their side. If Jesus answered one way they could condemn Him before the Romans. If He answered the other way, they could condemn Him for despising the law of Moses. He would be trapped; there would be no escape. And this time those crafty serpents had a real, live sinner for bait – a transgressor of the Law of God. “Moses’ law says that this woman should be stoned to death, but what do you say?” If Christ replied that she should be freed or given some lesser punishment, then they would shout that He could not be a servant of God, because he had forsaken the law of Moses. But if He said that she should be stoned, then they could accuse him before the Romans, who had taken from...

Sources of Joy – Galatians 5:22-23

In my reading Monday, the Lord placed before me an article about joy. My first reaction was to put it down, because of some of the author’s initial statements. He said, and I quote, “God don’t make nobody for misery. If we are miserable, it is because we have chosen to say no to joy. God intended joy for us from the start.” In the margin I put a question mark, meaning that I’d have to think about that for a while. It had nothing to do with the grammar, because I like misusing grammar from time to time myself. I know that I refer to joy fairly frequently. I have preached half a dozen messages on the subject, and I refer to it as points in other messages. Some of my message titles have been: “The Secret of Abiding Joy,” “Whence cometh Joy,” and its antithesis, “Where has the Joy Gone.” We are commanded to be joyful – “Rejoice ever more,” ” Rejoice in the Lord, again I say rejoice.” Joy and rejoicing are far more important than most Christians realize. In the midst of all the books on personal evangelism and how to make Christians out of the children of Satan, there ought to be chapters and books on joy. Laying aside eternal realities which we know to be true, the lost world is not interested in Heaven. Our unsaved neighbors don’t care about theology; about the Second Coming; about sanctification. They struggling from day to day under the effects of devastating sin. They are trying to pay their bills, keep their marriages together and satisfying their...

Responsibility and Faithfulness – Matthew 25:14-30

On August 24 in the year 79, the volcano Vesuvius erupted and entombed the city of Pompeii, Italy. The destruction began and ended in just few minutes, killing multitudes of people. The ash and gases of that volcano caught the residents city like a camera catches people in action. Some were running to the sea, some were hiding, some were looking for their wealth and others for their kids. And in a moment of time, many of them were entombed and mummified in mid-step by the ash. One was a Roman sentry who was apparently ordered to guard the gate of the city. He had every opportunity to be the first to the sea and possible safety. But do you know where archeologists found his body? He was at his post with his weapons in their proper position. The man was faithful to his orders. The man showed responsibility and faithfulness; He displayed character. Unlike the last man in our Lord’s parable. We will begin with some definitions and synonyms. But first, notice that all three men are described as the Master’s “own servants.” They are not strangers or hirelings. They obviously knew their Employer and knew at least some of what He expected. The first two servants were described as “faithful.” What do we mean by the word “faithfulness”? Looking it up in a thesaurus, we find synonyms like: loyalty, steadfastness, dedication, devotion and trust. And we see that sort of people in the Bible. There is Daniel, taken from his home and his people, but he remained faithful to his God. We have others like Job –...

Four Kinds of Prayer – Matthew 6:5-8; 18:19-20

The title of our little devotional this evening is “Four Kinds of Prayer” similar to “How to Pray.” But that can leave as bad a taste in one’s mouth – as bad as “12 Ways in which to Lead People to Christ.” It might be as silly as a book on “The Methods of Breathing.” And yet, if someone really wanted to, he could make a list of different ways to breathe. There is gasping for breath, wheezing, deep or shallow breathing, puffing, panting, huffing and so on. And we probably should have a paragraph on “holding one’s breath” as well. We don’t usually think about breathing, until we are asked to describe someone breathing. As I was thinking about prayer, I came up with four kinds or methods of prayer. Is PRIVATE PRAYER the most important? Matthew 6:5-8 – “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” The man who longs to...