The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 5:15-23

  Two weeks ago, I was thinking that I would simply expound these verses, as I did the first part of the chapter. But as I was looking at it, it became obvious that an exposition might be more problematic than an outline. So, once again, we have a brief, devotional sermon. I haven’t been giving these messages titles, but I probably should have. If this was to have a title, I would call it “Arguments for a Godly Morality,” or something along that line. Leaning away from what I hope are obvious lessons, let’s think about the Lord and His will. First, consider God’s omniscience. Verse 21 – “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” Obviously there is a corollary to this thought, “the ways of women are also before the eyes of the Lord.” Even though Solomon may have been thinking about wayward leaning sons of his, there are lessons here for the “strange woman” who was introduced to us last week. As foolish as it is, fathers often think it is impossible for their daughters to fall into sinful immorality. But knowing their own hearts, they can picture their sons. It’s always other man’s daughters who tempt our sons into sin. But, as I say, it’s foolishness on the father’s part. Both sons and daughter must remember “the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” The “ways” and “goings” of God’s creatures are as clear to the Lord as the sun shining above the clouds. “Neither...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:23-27

  What is the Biblical definition of sin? I John 3:4 – “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” So sin makes itself known in outward ways. We might say that specific sins originate in the heart, but isn’t it true that we can sin with our eyes? Don’t our lips sin when we utter a lie or we spread gossip? If we pull a grape off a vine in the grocery store, popping it into our mouths haven’t our hands sinned by stealing? This may be a silly question, but is there any part of our body which CANNOT sin? Can our belly button sin? What if we expose our belly button to the eyes of strangers? Can our ear lobes sin? We know our ears can sin by willing listening to wicked words. But can our ear lobes sin? What if there are 1″ tall swastika stuck in each of them? Is it possible for our shoulders to sin? What if they are leaning on a tree when they should be swinging an ax or raising a shovel? And what about our bottoms? Isn’t it a sin when we should be working, we are sitting – especially sitting on our hands? I don’t think we have to stretch our imaginations very far to come up with sins that just about any external part of our body might commit. Of course, from time to time, the Bible refers to some of the more prominent aspects body parts. And that is what we find here at the conclusion of Proverbs 4....

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:20-22

  Some day when you’re feeling down and need a little snicker, google the words – “There are 2 kinds of people.” I did that yesterday, looking for an illustration with which to begin this message. But there was so much stuff, including pictures, I chose only to mention the idea. One reply to that search would be – “There are 2 kinds of people in the world – cat people and dog people.” Probably there is a huge in-between group, but a lot of people would agree with that statement. This evening let’s all try really hard to be dog people for a few minutes. As I was asking the Lord for a way to illustrate the last verses of Proverbs 4 a silly thought came to mind. In another 30 minutes, you may disagree with me, but at least I’ll have a bit of your attention for a while. What if Solomon was thinking about his Cocker Spaniel, as he penned these words? Is there any way that children are like puppies? They are generally more like puppies than kittens, but that is a matter for later debate. Are there any puppies or dogs who “love” their masters so much they are like an appendage to his body? Are there dogs who are so close to their owners they are like an extra leg – a third leg? Do any dogs grieve when they are parted from their person? Are there mutts who watch and listen to their masters so attentively that person can’t go into the next room without being accompanied? With questions like those, let...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:11-19

  I am going to overlap our scripture for this evening with what we used two weeks ago. We looked at wisdom from a conjugal point of view – the relationship of a husband and wife. Husband “forsake her not,” “love her,” “embrace her” and “exalt her.” And that wife, wisdom, shall “preserve thee,” “keep thee,” bring thee to honour” – she is “thy life.” Blended into those images Solomon adds, “I have taught thee in the WAY of wisdom; I have led thee in right PATHS.” Then he talks about walking and running down that path with the blessing of the Lord. And he points to the paths of the wicked which are nothing but trouble. It is these two paths that I would like to briefly bring to your attention this evening. We can look at wisdom from several directions. Of course, the Lord Jesus is ultimately our wisdom. And there is wisdom in the truth – in the Bible and in Bible doctrine. But as it is expressed here, wisdom is a path, a road – wisdom is a way in which to live. And as such it is not a state of being – “I am wise. I have reached intellectual or spiritual nirvana.” Wisdom is not a state of mind – it is a path. The man with the PhD in theology, reading both Testaments and John Gill in the original languages, may be truly born again. But if he is inert in his Christian life, he displays no wisdom – in a practical sense, he is not wise. “I have taught thee in...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:5-13

  Once again, Solomon turns to the subjects of wisdom and understanding. Why does he so often instruct us about wisdom? Because, as he tells us throughout this paragraph, there is nothing of greater importance. And he is not speaking from the pedestal of the title “The World’s Wisest Man.” If Solomon is anything at all it is because of the grace of the Almighty. And this wisdom is at the epicenter of that grace. True wisdom begins with the Word of God – only some of which Solomon possessed in his day. Wisdom begins with the Word of God, but then it passes through the Lord Jesus Christ – “Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” And then true wisdom ends in salvation and eternal life. We could look at this paragraph three times and it would make perfect sense each time. We could exchange the word “wisdom” with “the Bible,” and then with the name of Christ. We could talk about salvation throughout these verses, and it could develop into a good gospel message. This wisdom is not intelligence well used; it is the grace of God which produces salvation. As I was reading these verses yesterday, a couple of things struck me. We have here a paragraph full of feminine pronouns – “Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee.” “Exalt her, and she shall promote thee.” Once I made note of the pronouns, I started to examine the verbs – “get,” “keep,” “love,” “exalt,” “embrace” and so on. As I thought about them, it occurred to me that...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:1-4

  Let’s deliberately deviate from Solomon’s direction of thought, still keeping it mind while we move on. He is obviously telling young people to listen to their fathers – or more particularly to him. He may have been directing his thoughts toward his own children, but the Holy Spirit directs it to all children. Just for this evening let’s not think so much about the children and the instruction, but to the father. But first we need to ask, “When do we cease to be children?” In one sense of the word, we never do. We will be the children of our parents until the Lord calls those parents away. And we will always need the instruction of people more wise and experienced than we are. There are some commentators who apply the word “father” in this context to “God the Father. ” We fully understand what they are saying, but it is clear that Solomon is thinking about himself and other human fathers. (As an aside, why do so many Catholic and Protestant priests, insist their people call them “father?” Because it is their doctrine that only THEY can discern, distill and distribute divine knowledge. The Catholic priest wants no other spiritual fathers in the world.) Again, when do we cease to be children? There is a sense in which there is a transition from childhood to adulthood when we become parents. “I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” But now,...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:31-35

  When we got to Lloydminster, Saskatchewan last Tuesday, the Yeoman’s put us up in a beautiful hotel. As Judy was taking a shower, I turned on the television and watched an interesting documentary. It was about mud and landslides, beginning with the Oso, Washington slide of 2014. In this landslide, just northeast of Everett, quite a few people lost their lives. And now more money is being funneled toward the study and prediction of landslides. In this case, all the fatalities were in homes and businesses in the valley below the slide. But there were references and videos of homes coming down hillsides in California and other places, as the hills below those houses gave way. That caused me to reflect on some houses we saw just east of Cochrane where we were staying with the Buenaventuras. These were expensive mansions, built on hills facing west with magnificent views of the mountains and fabulous sunsets. In this case these palaces were not just built on hills, but on man-made reinforced hills, with 20 and 30 foot retaining walls behind which were tons of gravel and dirt. They were literally hanging over the original hills. What is the likelihood that those million dollar mansions will some day come crashing down? Doesn’t Solomon speak of those kinds of houses? Well, perhaps he doesn’t, BUT I’d like to use them as illustrations. When Solomon and the Holy Spirit refer to “houses” in this paragraph, it is to people’s families – the house of so-and-so. John Gill suggests that these “houses” include all that the owner holds precious – from children to...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:21-30

“The New England Primer,” was published in Boston in the 1680s or 90s. It was one of the earliest books in this country which mothers used to teach their children to read. It was filled with Bible verses from the KJV and with theology – both good and bad. On one page was a little poem to be used as a prayer by children – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to Lord my soul to keep, If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Through the years there have been dozens of different forms to that prayer – such as. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, His Love to guard me through the night, And wake me in the morning’s light.” “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May the angels watch me through the night, and keep me in their blessed sight.” What has that poem got to do with our scripture from Proverbs? Look at verse 24 once again – “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” There are millions of Americans who, for various reasons, do not sleep well – do not sleep “sweetly.” Some times there are physical reasons for their lack of sleep. But there may be ten times as many emotional things which disturb them –either once in a while or all the time – night after night. Solomon doesn’t try to...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:19-20

Solomon is worried about his children – his many children. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” “My son, walk not thou in the way (of the fools).” “My son, if thou wilt receive my words… then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord.” “My son … let thine heart keep my commandments, for length of days and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Besides wanting his children to know the Saviour and to be prepared for eternity with Him… Solomon, wants to teach his children how to successfully live their three score and ten years in this world. He wants them to know how to successfully swim in the sea – with all the sharks. You might say that he wants them to learn how to swim. So as a busy king, he has been giving them instruction at the breakfast table, but he has also hired the greatest swimmer in all Israel to give those children lessons in the royal pool. That master teacher has verbally explained to the children the science of buoyancy and the art of floating. He has explained the importance of relaxing and letting the water do most of the work. But now that small child is being led by his instructor into the deep water for the first time. At that moment, what are the most helpful words that little minnow wants to hear? Isn’t it? “Don’t worry son, I am right here. I won’t let anything happen to you.” Let’s begin this evening with a quick review of...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:13-18

At our house there are three cats – not so much by our choice but by theirs. Venus lives inside, Grey lives in the front yard and Joy lives in the back. It is a reasonable arrangement for them, because, basically, they only tolerate each other. Quite often in the evening, our inside cat, will lay at the sliding door, watching for the backyard cat. And on several occasions, Judy has commented, “Venus is looking for Joy.” And I can’t help but to reply, “Isn’t everyone” or “Aren’t we all.” Built into every human being is a desire for joy and happiness. Admittedly, there may be a thousand definitions of joy and happiness, but by whatever definition they use most people want some. Solomon makes a statement which should eliminate more than 9,990 of those human definitions. He says, “HAPPY is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.” If someone wants to be truly happy in this life, he needs to find wisdom and spiritual understanding. You young people need to meditate on this verse, because it is true, and it could give definition and substance to your life which will separate you from all your friends. Solomon tells us about the search. Picture a miner – a man in search of gold or silver – both of which are mentioned in this context. Or maybe he is a hunter of rubies – again, something mentioned by Solomon. How is it that he “finds” it? He may travel all the way to the Yukon, or South Africa, or some other remote, ore-bearing place. He knows...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 3:11-12

Because of our fallen natures, there is a natural tendency to turn away from these two verses. But before you do, please recognize that they are far more positive than negative. They are not as harsh as someone might first think. For example, there are three apparently related words – There are the two verbs – “chastening” and “correction” in verse 11. And in verse 12 is the verb “correcteth.” I am not going to say that the translators were mistaken in the English words they used to convey the Hebrew, but the original language opens up some additional insight. If you’ll permit my paraphrase – follow along once again. “My son, refuse not the instruction of the LORD; neither be weary of his arguments: For the LORD reasons with the one he loves; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Our devotional this evening is primarily an illustration. Picture a family with a father, mother and one son. Dad is an accountant by trade, working 8 hours a day at his office downtown. His son, whom he loves very much, is 10 years old, and of course, is still very much a child – a kid. When Dad isn’t working, he is in his shop, where he makes beautiful works of art out of wood. His father taught him how to use 18th century tools to shape, carve, polish and perfect objects which could be sold for hundreds of dollars each. They both could be called “craftsmen.” And junior has begun to show an interest in following his dad in his hobby and craft. Of...

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...