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...

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...