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Posted on Jan 4, 2013 in Proverbious

Proverbious – Day 4 – Proverbs 1:20-23 “This is wisdom, and she wants to introduce herself.”

Proverbious – Day 4 – Proverbs 1:20-23 “This is wisdom, and she wants to introduce herself.”

Have you seen the movie, Martian Child? If you haven’t, it is one I would happily recommend, and you may want not want to listen to this introduction…

There is a scene in the movie when Dennis, the little boy goes missing. David (John Cusack) does what any parent would do if they couldn’t find their child, started calling out for him. He went around the house yelling for him, outside, then drove all over, searching for him until he found Dennis.

That’s the image we get today, except we are the lost child. Wisdom is calling out for us, seeking us, hoping beyond hope that we will answer her call.

Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Wisdom calls out in the street,
she shouts loudly in the plazas;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she calls,
in the entrances of the gates in the city she utters her words:
22 “How long will you simpletons love naiveté?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If only you will respond to my rebuke,
then I will pour out my thoughts to you
and I will make my words known to you.

After you read that, you may be thinking to yourself, “Now wait a minute, I ain’t no simpleton.” I would agree with that. I don’t like being called a simpleton. Someone called me that once, and it has stuck in my mind for a long time. It’s offensive. Sure, it might be cute to call a younger person that. But, not if they’re aware of what you’re calling them!

And come on, I don’t love naiveté. I may not be aware of everything, but I’m not totally unaware. And I don’t try to avoid knowledge.

But, if we really drill down to the heart of who we are, and I mean way down. Further. And further still. Beneath who we all pretend to be around others, beneath who we pretend to be when we’re talking about ourselves online, and even beneath who we envision ourselves to be when we rationalize our actions. Way Down.

Way down, we don’t really want to know do we.

Not to write a post about movies, but we’re all familiar with the overused quote from the Matrix, “ignorance is bliss.” If we’re being honest with ourselves, we would have to agree. Wouldn’t it be better to be ignorant of something than, to have to know it and live by it?

And that is where we all break down. At first response we are offended at being called simpleton and naive, but in practice we love it. We don’t just love it, we live it. We don’t want to know what the right thing to do is because then we have to do it. And if we know what the right thing to do is and we don’t do it we have guilt (yet another movie reference…).

Isn’t it easier to not know? We don’t like knowing the truth about families struggling to survive on less food than we wash down our garbage disposals. Even worse, we wince at the idea of knowing the struggles of friends and family and those we are personally connected to. Why? Once we know, we feel guilty for not doing anything we can to help.

But wisdom is seeking us out. Wisdom is desperately looking for us. She doesn’t care how much we do or don’t know, she just wants to be able to pour her thoughts out on us and make her ways known to us.

While not knowing may seem easier, it is not on par with better.

What if we got past the selfish response of guilt, and yes guilt is a result of selfishness. If we had done what we should have done, we wouldn’t feel guilty. Get beyond that first response and allow yourself to respond in the way that you feel compelled to respond. Buy a goat for a family in a poor country. Be a surrogate Father or Mother or big brother or sister for children in your life who don’t have one. Give money to the family who can’t find work. Turn off the TV. Get off the Couch. Share Your faith. Stand up for the defenseless.

This is wisdom, and she wants to introduce herself.

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Posted on Jan 3, 2013 in Proverbious

Proverbious – Day 3 – Proverbs 1:10-19

Proverbious – Day 3 – Proverbs 1:10-19

Does wealth entice you? Do you want to be rich? I’ll be honest with you, I do. It seems to me that life would be so much easier if we had more money. And I don’t mean just a little more, I mean the kind where I never have to worry about money again. You know, win the publishers clearing house, $5,000 per week for life. Is that too much to ask?

The real question is, am I willing to give up everything I am and believe in to get it? Am I willing to sell my soul to pay for my easy life.

When I first read todays passage from Proverbs, my first thought was, “Seriously? Who would go with someone whose first proposition was to shed blood? Nobody would go along with that. And who wants to go and steal from someone? Certainly not someone who is trying to seek wisdom!”

But, then as I thought about it a little more, I thought about what we are willing to give up in order to pursue riches. I mean, what will you give up in the pursuit of wealth?

The hinge verse, in my opinion, of this passage is verse 17: “Surely it is futile to spread a net in plain sight of any bird.” What does that even mean? For one, it’s a proverb, and that’s exactly what we’re learning about! It’s also why I love proverbs of all kinds, because they can contain so much meaning in such a small phrase. They’re very efficient that way!

What the teacher is saying is the bird, a much simpler creature than we, is smart enough to see a trap and fly away. They, in their very limited intellect, are able to see the trap that awaits if they go after the food and know that it’s not worth it. Either that or, the teacher is saying don’t be like the bird. That’s also what can be confusing about proverbs…

So, let’s try a different analogy. How about a mouse trap. I’m guessing we’ve all had the unfortunate privilege of having an unwanted mouse in our house. We had that blessing in our garage a couple of years ago. We started noticing the “evidence” of our unwanted visitor and knew something needed to be done. So, I bought a pack of traps and set a couple. And caught a couple. And a couple more. Plus the one that got stuck in the dog food can and couldn’t jump out that I caught in an old butter tub.

Think about those mice, they see the “bait” and think “I’ve got to have it!” So they do and then they…well you know. Certainly they can see the trap, but they go after the bait anyway. Perhaps they don’t realize what the trap really is.

Either way, whether the bird is smart enough to fly away, or willing to risk its life to get the food neither is what we want to be. We don’t want to sacrifice our family for wealth. We don’t want to sacrifice our friends and relationships and we certainly don’t want to sacrifice our integrity. We know that, but how often do we still go after it? We take little steps, and before we know it, we are several floors away from where we used to be, and who we were is not even close to who we are.

So, today, let’s heed the words of the proverb:

Proverbs 1:10-19

“10 My child, if sinners try to entice you,
do not consent!
11 If they say, “Come with us!
We will lie in wait to shed blood;
we will ambush an innocent person capriciously.
12 We will swallow them alive like Sheol,
those full of vigor like those going down to the Pit.
13 We will seize all kinds of precious wealth;
we will fill our houses with plunder.
14 Join with us!
We will all share equally in what we steal.”
15 My child, do not go down their way,
withhold yourself from their path;
16 for they are eager to inflict harm,
and they hasten to shed blood.
17 Surely it is futile to spread a net
in plain sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood,
they ambush their own lives!
19 Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly;
it takes away the life of those who obtain it!”

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Posted on Jan 2, 2013 in Proverbious

Proverbious – Day 2 – Proverbs 1:7-9

Proverbious – Day 2 – Proverbs 1:7-9

Today we encounter the theme of the entire book of Proverbs, as well as its two primary characters. Yes, I realize that this isn’t a narrative per se, but the first few chapters of this book are written as wise man speaking to his son or “my child.”

So, what is this theme you may ask? The theme is the fear of the Lord.

If you’ve spent time attending church in whatever form you have probably heard that phase, the fear of the Lord. But, like many, you also  may not know what it really means. Yes, in its most literal understanding fear is part of what is being communicated in this phrase. The Lord, is the one whom we are supposed to be afraid of. However, it doesn’t end there. It also covers the idea of respect and worship. We are to respect the Lord and his awesomeness, and that respect brings us to worship. When God revealed himself in the Old Testament it was not only mortifying, but a task that only a select few could survive. This fear was meant to scare us straight. And as we respond to this fear, we submit ourselves to His will. (See notes on bible.org)

It is out of this fear and worship that we build a foundation for wisdom. If we don’t have reverence and fear for the person doing the teaching, why should we believe it?

We also meet the protagonist known as “my child” and the antagonist “the fool.” It is clear from the start that the the fool is the one who despises wisdom. Isn’t that an interesting choice of words. When we think of fools, we don’t think of people who hate and despise wisdom.

But, fools aren’t just people with a low IQ. A fools is someone who doesn’t understand things. As we will learn, they are arrogant, contentious, talk loosely and refuse correction. In other words, they have no morals, are stubborn and are prone to folly. (See notes on bible.org)

Once you have a proper understanding of what a fool is, I hope you have an instant desire to not be one of them. It’s not hard to spot one. I’m sure you’ve experienced some in your life, I  most certainly have. If you have, you know that they don’t listen to an anything but their own voice. Any words you speak in the hope they will think differently are a waste of breath.

May I suggest that you be the protagonist in this story? Will you join me in a pursuit of the Proverbious life?

 

Proverbs 1:7-9

Fearing the Lord is the beginning of moral knowledge (wisdom),
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Listen, my child, to the instruction from your father,
and do not forsake the teaching from your mother.
For they will be like an elegant garland on your head,
and like pendants around your neck. (NET Bible Translation)

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Posted on Jan 1, 2013 in Proverbious

Proverbious – Day 1 – Proverbs 1:1-6

Proverbious – Day 1 – Proverbs 1:1-6

Why is wisdom so important? Well, wisdom is not only knowing what is right or true, but it is acting in accordance with that truth. In other words, wisdom is more than knowledge. Many people know what the right thing to do is, but not nearly as many people do the right thing.

That is exactly what wisdom is. Wisdom is more than just being old. How many times have you associated wisdom with age? At the same time, we all have known someone who is old and yet, very unwise.

But wisdom is more than just a knowledge of what is right or true and acting accordingly. Wisdom is accumulated. The wisdom that is learned from one area of life is not only relevant for that part of your life. Wisdom has no boundaries as to when and how it can be applied.

But, let’s not get to strapped down to a specific definition of what wisdom is just yet. Instead, let’s allow wisdom to be a floating term whose definition continues to evolve as we gain more of it.

So, we begin. And we begin with Solomon, why? First, Solomon is the author of the majority of this book. Second, Solomon received his wisdom as a gift directly from God himself.

“God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Tell me what I should give you.” Solomon replied to God, “You demonstrated great loyalty to my father David and have made me king in his place. Now give me wisdom and discernment so I can effectively lead this nation.”

11 God said to Solomon, “Because you desire this, and did not ask for riches, wealth, and honor, or for vengeance on your enemies, and because you did not ask for long life, but requested wisdom and discernment so you can make judicial decisions for my people over whom I have made you king, 12 you are granted wisdom and  discernment. Furthermore I am giving you riches, wealth, and honor surpassing that of any king before or after you.”

As we look through history we see that no only was Solomon the wisest man to ever live, but he was also the richest. In today’s dollars, he would have close to $850 Billion, with a B. If God honored him with wealth because Solomon asked for wisdom, surely Solmon’s wisdom is worth following.

Chapter 1:1-6

1 The Proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
To learn wisdom and moral instruction,
and to discern wise counsel.
To receive moral instruction in skillful living,
in righteousness, justice, and equity.
To impart shrewdness to the morally naive,
and a discerning plan to the young person.
(Let the wise also hear and gain instruction,
and let the discerning acquire guidance!)
To discern the meaning of a proverb and a parable,
the sayings of the wise and their riddles. (NET Bible Translation)

This is the point of the book and the point of this study. We want to learn wisdom and moral instruction and to discern wise counsel. We want to live our lives skillfully, not just wandering through this life with a que sera sera attitude. No matter what our age or what level of wisdom we may have achieved at this point in our lives, we seek to gain wisdom so that we may live our lives as wise.

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Posted on Dec 31, 2012 in Proverbious

Proverbious Podcast – Episode 000

Proverbious Podcast – Episode 000

To answer your first question, no – I don’t believe there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. To answer your second question, no it’s not a word.

So, I made up a word. I spent a lot of time thinking about a name for this blog series and podcast, but couldn’t come up with anything that I liked. So, what does a wise person do when the right word just can’t be found? Makes up their own word.

Okay, maybe not a wise person, but this kind of person does.

So, why a series and podcast on Proverbs? Hasn’t that been done. Probably. And weren’t they done by people who have a better understanding than me? Maybe. (Not to toot my own horn, but I do have a degree in Bible and Theology. I tell you that not to brag, but let you know that I’m not just some guy talking about the Bible.)

But, still, why Proverbs? Simple. How many times have you heard people say they are worried about the world we live in? Probably hundreds. You’ve probably said it yourself. And, yes things may be bad out there. In fact, I’ll agree that I’m concerned with a lot of the moral collapse in our society. I’m very concerned. And that’s why I’m doing this.

While I agree that our world needs a lot more of Jesus, and could use some more knowledge of His word, I also believe we need to do more than just find Jesus again. I have known hundreds, if not thousands of Christians who love Jesus. And yet I have also known many who make little attempt to live according to the principles of the word. They found Jesus, and, well, that’s enough.

What we don’t need are more people who find Jesus and learn about Him, but do nothing to live like Him.

So, as I thought about this problem, I decided to do something. And I hope you’ll join me. Even more than that, I hope you’ll join me in trying to live a proverbious life and that you’ll try to bring someone else along for the journey.

If we are going to bring about change in our world, we must have not only the knowledge of the word, but ability to live a life fully encompassed by it. We don’t just need to know it, we need to live it.

And that is where we begin.

James 1:21-25:

“So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves.23 For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror.24 For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does.”

May we be blessed in all we do, because we live out the message we have heard.

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