The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13:24

  Often on these Wednesday nights I feel like I’m preaching to the choir. Rarely do we have a visitor, and some of you have been hearing me preach since the week you were born and even before. Many, many times I feel like I’m facing the wrong audience. The message should be preached more to lost people, to more young people or to newer Christians. And this is one of the blessings of our presence on the internet – our web page and Facebook page. At the very least, I can imagine a wider audience than the few of us who are here tonight. And I really need that reassurance tonight. I would be remiss not to address this verse, while going through the Book of Proverbs. But most of us no longer have small children over whom we are responsible. Or we are parents in homes where the principles of this verse are already working well. Ah, but there might be someone who will run into our website tomorrow, and profit from Solomon’s wisdom even if no one here hears anything new. With this in mind, I ask you to pray for our internet ministry. There really are people on the other side of the world, who read and respond to our web pages. Having said that, don’t assume that you won’t hear anything new or that you can’t learn from this verse. There has never been a child born – or born again – who has not been sinful – a sinner. Our natural selves are unrighteous and self destructive – it comes with the human...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13:10

  In chapter 6, the Spirit told us – “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, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” First on this list of things which God hates is pride. As I have asked before, isn’t it a shame that it isn’t homosexuality or abortion – sins in which you and I have never participated? Why isn’t it a sin confined to the person whom we might be most quick to despise? Why does God hate something which rises so near to the top of our own depraved hearts? I wonder how many times I have been guilty of pride since the last time we met. I spent only a quick minute asking myself that question, because I didn’t really want to know the answer. I was guilty, or perhaps nearly so, when I was able to up load some sermons to our Facebook page. I don’t think I was as much proud of the messages as I was of my success at uploading them. And I was slightly proud of the fact I lost two pounds recently. But about how many other things have I been proud recently? Does God hate all my pride equally? And what about yours? Tonight, I have very little more for you than an incomplete Bible survey. My thoughts began last week when I read in verse 10 – “only...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13:7

  This theme is found all over Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Like many others, it is so common that it is easy to overlook. We need to teach ourselves to slowly and with meditation read the Word of God. The Holy Spirit may point out something new with a blessing hiding in it. I’ll let the Lord determine if this will be a blessing, but I was hit with something new in this verse. As I say, the Bible often speaks of “poor rich men” and “rich poor men.” I could pull examples and scriptures from throughout the Bible, but here are two from Revelation. Chapter 2, verse 9 – “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou are rich)….” Chapter 3, verse 17 – “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” There are obvious and subtle lessons in scriptures like these. One of which is that “richness” and “poverty” are relative terms. Many people of are wealthy by our standards, think to themselves that they aren’t rich enough. And many people with little of this world’s goods, realize that they could be a lot poorer. And yet, the world looks at both these people and says, “He is poor, and he is rich.” There are many scriptures dealing with the CONDITION of wealth and poverty. But it occurred to me yesterday that Proverbs 13:7 does not speak of the condition of one’s finances. This clearly speaks of the road towards wealth or poverty. “There is...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13:12

  There are many great and provocative statements among these proverbs. We could build a message around so many of them – some being stronger than others. Many are as obvious as the sun in our eyes, or the blast of a blizzard in our face. Yesterday, I jotted town five verses in this chapter which deserve our consideration. But I think I’ll just point to a few of them and move on. Verse 6 – “Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way.” Is “righteousness” in this verse personified – does it speak of the Lord with His arm around us, leading down the right path? Or assuming this person is a Christian, do this talk of Christian character? His heart won’t permit him to walk down the broad road. The “way” is not defined for us, but we have no trouble understanding what the word means. Verse 13 – “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” Isn’t it interesting that Solomon didn’t explain what he meant by “the word”? I think that it is precisely how we use that word when speaking of the Word of God. The man who ignores or despises what God has revealed about Himself and about sin, shall be destroyed – he may or may not die young but eventually he will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Verse 20 is an oft quoted scripture – “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” We could think about the many different ways...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13:5

  It is the temptation of every preacher, including this one, to make his messages cute in some fashion. Particularly after 25 years or more in one place, there is a felt need to make the next sermon unique and attention-grabbing. But not only is that unrealistic and impractical, it is a dereliction of the minister’s duty. Sometimes the message should be excruciatingly simple, and at other times the text is so obvious that it becomes almost unnecessary to expound upon it. And such is the verse I’ve chosen for this evening. Do I need to remind any of us that we should hate, despise, abhor lying? Solomon makes a simple statement – “A righteous man hateth lying.” And the heart of every righteous person concurs. But that doesn’t mean we are always absolutely truthful, does it? Honesty demands that we admit – sometimes even the righteous are less than honest. In an attempt to drive an obvious truth even deeper into our souls, let’s ask a simple question: WHY does the righteous man hate lying? We don’t have to turn to the seminary professor for an answer. And we certainly don’t need or want the opinion of the psycho-analyst. All we need is a concordance and a little Spirit-guided meditation. Why does the righteous man hate lying? First, but without any specific order – the righteous man hates lying because he is righteous. Solomon is not talking about the child who is still intrenched in his all consuming self-centeredness. This is not the criminal avoiding the law, or the spy trying to carry out his nefarious assignment. This...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 13

  As we proceed deeper into this book, we find more verses bearing themes we’ve already addressed. Common subjects are expressed in slightly different ways; some of them are more profound or provoking than their earlier cousins. For the most part there isn’t any need but to read them and continue forward. I will try to stop at each major subject, but I can’t promise complete success. Every week I read the chapter before us, asking the Lord for direction, and usually He highlights a verse or two, and I proceed from there. And yesterday, it was verse 9 which seemed to rise to the surface in my mind. “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” This is not one of those outstanding scriptures which we embroider onto silk, frame and nail on the wall over the picture of grandma and grandad. But it seems to me to be a sort of hinge which might be used to open some other doors. This is one of those special hinges which can swing in either direction. If we are going one way we push on it, and it opens into the sun light. But when we are going from the sunshine into the darkness, we still push on it because it swings in both directions. And either in the sunshine or the darkness, we find related scriptures. But first, consider the verse itself. “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” The Hebrew words “light” and “lamp” are different – not related linguistically...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 12:5-22

  It is possible to read though any of these chapters from Proverbs looking for a theme or subject and then to develop that subject into a study – all within that particular chapter. Because these are usually only an accumulation of statements we can’t necessarily create an orderly outline, but together they do provide some useful instruction. Last week we gleaned from this chapter several related points about good foundations and solid roots. We could probably pursue the same subjects in other chapters, but we probably won’t. And we could follow tonight’s theme over and over again in other chapters, but again, we probably won’t. Most of these proverbs speak for themselves, so once we have our hearts attuned to the right spiritual frequency, we can hear what is being said without any necessary amplification from my lips. And it is lips that I’d like you to hear tonight. There are seven verses in this chapter which speak of words and tongues. All but one of them compare the lips of the wicked to those of the righteous. Together, they reveal that we can judge the heart of the speaker by analyzing his words. And thus we have a standard by which to judge our own communication and to set as our own goal. Our first two verses tell us that our words can either ENTRAP or DELIVER us. Verse 13 – “The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.” Verse 6 – “The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 12:3

  We’ve all seen it, if we haven’t experienced it – the tree with a shallow root system blown over in the storm. I confess to a little worry about the larch which Jackie and I transplanted into our back yard. It is growing like a weed, sometimes as much as 3 or 4 feet a year. But it has the advantage of a sprinkler system, feeding it water every other day. Because it doesn’t have to struggle for water, it has no reason to sink its roots deep into the soil. As a result it might not have the stability many of its cousins have out there in the forest. The Bible speaks much about good foundations, because the problems of shallow roots affects human beings as much if not more than trees. Jeremiah 17 – ” Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ Colossians 2 – “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Root and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as yet have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Jesus’ parable of the seeds and the soils makes reference to a lack of root in one instance. And Matthew 7 – “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:4

  As I was re-reading this chapter yesterday, thinking about the verses we’ve skipped, I thought I could see a loose relationship between five of them. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Verse 28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” Verse 31 – “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” Don’t these verses speak of similar subjects from different points of view? Let’s consider riches versus righteous; life versus death; gain versus loss; and the theist compared to the atheist. One thing which links all of these is day-to-day earthly living. Even though Solomon often speaks about eternal things, these verses quite clearly refer to our three score and ten years in this world. First, he ties together two great parts of man’s existence – LIFE and DEATH. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” How much did Solomon know about death? Babies may die, but they don’t recognize death in others or understand...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:30

  There are a dozen great proverbs here in chapter 11. I plan, the Lord willing, to make a quick review of those which we have not yet considered. Many of them are so succinct and obvious, all we need to do is stop for a moment and let them sink in. One of the problems with our daily Bible reading, is we have three or four chapters scheduled for the day so that we sail right over the well-known or obvious verses and don’t let them soak into our souls. We will try to rectify that to a small degree, but that is on my calendar for next Wednesday. While first thinking we might finish the chapter tonight, my heart got hooked on verse 30. In my youth – in my Bible school days – this scripture would have been used to beat the lazy Christian into door-knocking and the necessity of Arminian evangelism. But since those early days in my life, I have matured just a little in my theology and in my desire to know what the Holy Spirit is saying here. Let’s try to understand and properly apply some of this verse. Beginning at the end – who is this wise person? Remember that as the Book of Proverbs began, Wisdom was personified in Christ, the Son of God. “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: How long, ye simple ones will ye love simplicity. Turn you at my reproof, behold I will pour out MY spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Then, with the entry of...

April 29

William Baskett was born in 1741 in Goochland County, Virginia. His parents were poor Episcopalians. When William was twenty he married Miss Mary Pace. They immediately began morning and evening devotions together and with their children as they began to arrive. When the Baptist, John Corbley, visited the area many residents began to openly talk about Bible doctrine. Confused about such things Mr. Baskett went to the local vicar, asking him what he must do to be saved. The man told him that he felt a comfortable hope in keeping the commandments. When this didn’t satisfy William’s questions or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the minister dismissed him, calling him deranged. Over the months to come William and Mary continued to search the scriptures eventually coming to the conclusion: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.” When Elijah Craig and David Thompson visited, William asked to be immersed upon his profession of Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Soon a small congregation was gathered and Philip Webber was called as pastor. When Webber emigrated to Kentucky, the congregation called their own William Baskett. For twenty-one years he faithfully served that congregation. On April 21, 1815 Mary Baskett died. One week later, on this date in 1815, William preached from the words: “We have no continuing city, but seek one to come,” and then the following day, at the age of 59, he followed his wife into the presence of the their...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:16

  I wont stress your exhausted minds with deep theology or detailed logic tonight. Here are a few simple devotional thoughts centered around four simple words. Isn’t it interesting how words can be arranged one way and they teach or bless, but then they can be rearranged telling us something else? Or if we replace one of those words there is another lesson? Those preachers who care little for words – even the little ones – are often making a huge mistake. The verse says, “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.” By the way, the word “and” is not in the Hebrew, leaving the door open to other connective words. And John Gill says that some people like to use “as” instead of “and.” “A gracious woman retaineth honour, AS strong men retain riches.” That certainly makes sense and doesn’t change the effect of two clauses very much. But it does make us focus on the gracious woman with the strong man helping us to understand her. Once again we are reminded how important even little words can be. But it’s always best to leave our English Bible alone, letting it speak for itself. We have four primary words in this verse, which I will mix up just a bit. Let’s start with the strong man. Being honest with you, I have to point out that technically, this might be an evil sort of word. It is often translated in a very negative sort of way. It is used in the Bible twenty times and only once is it translated “strong.” It is most frequently...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:12

  I suppose there could be a healthy debate about which book of the Bible is the most practical. For example, it might be said that Romans is the most practical because there is nothing more practical and important than salvation from sin. Another might choose Genesis as the foundation of the rest of the Bible. Or someone could say that since we are living in the last days, Revelation is the most practical. And then people simply have their favorite books. Taken from the standpoint of day-to-day life and the attacks upon it by the sins of society, some would insist that Proverbs must be the most practical of all the books of the Bible. Solomon seems to go from one temptation to another in successive verses. He briefly exposes one sin and immediately jumps upon another. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour,” introducing us to the common sin of hypocrisy. And then, still speaking of those two men he says, “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” I am not trying to be thorough in these devotionals. After all, this is Wednesday night and most of us are weary from three days of hard work or trips to the hospital. But the Lord is putting these practical subjects before us, so I feel obligated to address them, even if it is only lightly. But maybe I shouldn’t use the word “devotional,” because this isn’t particularly light, uplifting material. Solomon is meddling once again – “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” Who is my neighbor? Don’t we have neighbors and then...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:9

  As often as we hear outsiders and unbelievers talk about hypocrites in the church, we might think it should be a huge subject in the Bible, but that is not the case. The word “hypocrisy” is found once in the Old Testament and five times in the New Testament. The more common “hypocrite” is only used eight times in the Old Testament and three times in the New. And it surprised me that verse 9 is the only use of either word in Proverbs. More trivia on the subject relates to the two people who use these words most often – Christ speaks these words six times and so does the Book of Job. And one more point, of which I have told you before,“hupokrites” (hoop-ok-ree-tace’) was the first word the Greeks used to speak of “stage players” or “actors.” A hypocrite is an actor, playing a role – a fake, a fraud, a deceiver. And most of the time, everyone knows it. Despite its relative rarity in the Bible, and especially in Proverbs, let’s use this verse as an incentive to address the subject of hypocrisy. It really is a problem among church people and even among Christians. And the Bible condemns it as we see here. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour.” What else does the Holy Spirit tell us about hypocrisy? First, Hypocrisy is rarely a stand-alone sin. This is true of most kinds of sin, but it’s particularly true in this case. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour” – doesn’t that speak of at least two sins? One particularly heinous...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:5-6

  As I began reading through this chapter once again, asking the Lord for direction, it occurred to me that we might have sequel to last week’s lesson. Last week we spent a few minutes considering some of the consequences of one particular sin. We began with, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame,” and then moved on to related scriptures. Here in verses 5 and 6 we read – “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way” and “The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them.” I thought to myself, if the Bible has another five or six statements which parallel these, I’ll have a profitable devotional. Alas, these are the only verses which directly speak of the profitability of personal righteousness. In order to reach that conclusion, I asked my concordance to search for the words: “the righteousness of.” It gave me an easily manageable twenty-two scriptures. And generally speaking, they could be grouped into five categories. Having failed in my original thought, I decided to go with plan B. Let’s consider each of these five groups. One verse speaks of the righteousness of GOD’S WORD. David says to the Lord in prayerful psalm, “The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting.” We could probably build a healthy sermon around that verse alone. The testimony of God, ie. His Word, is as eternal as God Himself. This should develop in our minds into the doctrine of the eternal preservation of His Word. God’s Word is available to us today, as much as it was to the twelve disciples when they walked with Christ and listened to His voice....